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Riverkeep

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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  559 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
The Danék is a wild, treacherous river, and the Fobisher family has tended it for generations—clearing it of ice and weed, making sure boats can get through, and fishing corpses from its bleak depths. Wulliam’s father, the current Riverkeep, is proud of this work. Wull dreads it. And in one week, when he comes of age, he will have to take over.
Then the unthinkable happens
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by Viking
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Bob In the book, there is no time for romance. Wull is in a big hurry and there is always a problem that needs to be fixed. Everyone has their own agenda,…moreIn the book, there is no time for romance. Wull is in a big hurry and there is always a problem that needs to be fixed. Everyone has their own agenda, and let's face it, the frozen river, the smelly village, and the dirty city, are not romantic places . . . .I love this book!(less)

Community Reviews

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Robin Stevens
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A truly extraordinary, rich and vivid debut. Martin has built a world and concocted a story you can get lost in - this is one of the most engrossing books I've read this year, and I loved every second of it. One for fans of Pratchett and Gaiman.
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A coming-of-age adventure in a world that is both threatening and full of wonders, following a boy who embarks on a journey to save his father: after Wulliam witnessed his dad being possessed by a river spirit, he decides to take his only parent to the sea, hunting down a legendary beast whose fluids are rumoured to have many healing properties. And even if it means abandoning his duties as the keeper of the riv
...more
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
As I mentioned earlier, I have decided that I am not able to finish reading Riverkeep. I gave the book 100 pages and almost the entire time reading it, all I could think of was other things which I wanted to read. I adore the cover of this book and it sounded like an awesome premise to me. However, I just couldn't lose myself in this book like I wanted to.

Riverkeep tells the story of Wulliam, who is set to inherit the job of Riverkeep upon his 16th birthday in a week or so. The job entails keep
...more
Kristin
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
super torn. This would have been awesome except for the world building problem. Rivers only flow one way...Emory Blummell's face was found at the boathouse. The boathouse is upriver from Canna Bay where the Mormorach ate the rest of him. Wull rows "with the current" from the boat house to Canna Bay to hunt the Mormorach. How the heck did the face get to the boathouse (or all the dead bodies from the city, for that matter)? It was like a super-distracting fantasy Zen koan and was the only thing I ...more
Milou
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story was so beautiful and it made me feel all the feels. At times I had a few good laughs, at others I shed some tears. Parts made me all warm and fuzzy inside, while others freaked me a bit out with their weirdness and their gore.

It took me a while to get into the story, with the first 100 pages or so being a bit slow, incoherent and confusing. But when things start to get together and you see more of this wonderful world, you can't help but love it. Wull and his father meet some weird an
...more
Beth Hall
May 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish it- abandoned after a few chapters. The boasts on the cover of the proof copy I received were enough to annoy me initially, and the book really didn't live up to them. It was a slow start, and Wulliam? Really?
The third chapter was a little better, but not enough to keep me reading. Onto better, less egregiously marketed books.
Shorty
This richly detailed debut novel by author Martin Stewart is very well done. I enjoyed the thick Scottish brogue all the characters had, which was incredibly and brilliantly narrated by James Cosmo, the actor from Game of Thrones, etc. (seriously, kudos to Blackstone audio for getting him to narrate this novel!). As I adore movies and tv shows from both England and Scotland, listening and understanding the author and the narrator was no big deal for me. (Though I do have to mention that at first ...more
Karina
It took me a while to get into this book - I found the first 30 pages or so a bit of a slog. It doesn't help that the proof copy is emblazoned with comparisons to Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and Ursula Le Guin - those kind of comparisons make me deeply sceptical and prejudice me against the book from the get-go.
But then, on page 33 we meet Tillinghast and the whole thing lifts off. In one of the funniest yet grossest fight scenes I've ever read, he bests two muscle bound bruisers and cheekily i
...more
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a digital copy of this title via Netgalley.

Categories: YA, fantasy, death and dying

DNFed at: 11%

Comments:

It felt like I read a lot more than just 11% of this book. That astonishingly lovely cover drew me in, along with the blurb, with promises of a boy whose job it is to drag corpses from a river, but I just couldn’t get my head around the world-building. The main character wasn’t particularly charismatic either, and I felt like his confusion and despair became my own. Early on I go
...more
Noha Badawi
Jun 05, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This will be DNF-ed !
I’m almost a 100 pages in and the writing is giving me a headache and the plot is messy which ended up that i do not understand what’s going on.
Sad, i really wanted to enjoy this book.
Beth Bonini
3.5 stars

This debut novel features on the 2017 YA Book Prize shortlist, and there was much to enjoy and admire in it. It's one of those quest/adventure novels in which the son gradually takes the place of his father, in this case, as 'Riverkeep' of the Danek river. At the beginning of the novel, Wulliam (known as Wull) is nearing his 16th birthday - the official transition point for handing the Riverkeep responsibility from father to son. Wull longs for adventure, escape, anything but the dark,
...more
Elaine Aldred
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam has grown up with the knowledge he will be eventually be expected to take over his father's work as a Riverkeep, looking after the river and fishing out bodies to give them a dignified delivery from its liquid embrace. But one night, when his father reaches over to pull a corpse into his boat, his own body is taken over by a sinister spirit. So when Wull discovers that a great sea-beast, a mormorach, might possess the cure for his father's affliction Wull sets off down t ...more
nikki
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya, reviewed
cross posted from fox and fiction

It's been a long while since I've read a good, entertaining adventure tale. Riverkeep by Martin Stewart was like returning to a familiar and comfortable territory, and a delightful new experience, all at once. There are so many things to love about this book. It has a reluctant and unwittingly hilarious protagonist, Wulliam, and the wonderfully named and very amusing cast of characters he picks up as he makes his way downstream. The world itself is fascinating, w
...more
Arwen
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family's mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything changes. One night his father is possessed by a dark spirit, and Wull hears that a cure lurks deep within the great sea-beast known as the mormorach. He realizes he must go on an epic journey downriver to find it - or lose Pappa forever.

I have been given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I'm now several
...more
Brian
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A rich, gothic fantasy about Wull and his father who keep the river free from ice in the winter but whose lives are overturned by the arrival upstream of a mormorach, a huge, magical creature that causes all sorts of other long-dormant magic to awaken, including the terrible bohdan which takes possession of Wull's father.

Stewart's writing positively seethes with raw talent and imaginative power but his structure is slightly ramshackle. He has a tendency to move the plot on by generating an endle
...more
Penelope
I really, really wanted to love this book, the comparisons to some of my favourite authors had me clapping my hands with glee, but sadly there were bits of it that just didn't work for me. It is in parts beautifully written, the use of language is utterly lovely but somewhere in the telling the story just gets lost. Too many characters, too many different points of view and too much flitting from scene to scene leaves the reader bemused and a little lost as to where we are supposed to be.

There w
...more
Maxine Robinson
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Didn't love it. Full review is on my blog.

It had plenty of action and adventure, but it felt rushed and by jamming so much into such a short time frame, it seemed like everything was glossed over.
Muffinsandbooks
Mar 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Je n’ai vraiment pas accroché à ce livre, à cette histoire et à ces personnages. Je reconnais que c’était original, mais définitivement pas pour moi ...
Anya
The heavily accented dialogue combined with the graphic description of water logged bodies isn't working for me.
Bob
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book review on Goodreads. Okay, maybe it is not a book review.

These notes were written by Mace the first level cleric, third level warrior.

I had wanted to do some fishing, so I was interested in a boat trip. Avandra, the Luck Goddess, booked me into this excursion. I knew something was wrong when I felt the harsh winter breeze and saw the old boathouse. Wull came out to greet me and soon I was inside looking at his father. The two obviously needed help. Wull was not quite sixte
...more
Atsu
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3.5 stars]
A slow (and a little bit confusing, but I actually liked that) beginning for an overall really nice book. I only wish it had ~50 more pages and that some characters had been developed further -- you will know who I am talking about.
Still, the language is beautiful, the descriptions vivid and the characters surprisingly funny. It felt like The Wizard of Oz stumbling into The Witcher's world, which is basically the recipe to steal my heart. I'm looking forward to Martin Stewart's next w
...more
Lucija The Reader
DNF
Usually, if I don't really like the book that I'm reading, I will still try to read as much as I can. But, with this book, I finished chapter three and I can't read anymore. I was so bored and a bit confused. The characters all felt the same so it was very hard to tell them apart. I was expecting much more because this book sounded amazing. But maybe, I will find the courage to start this book again when I feel like it.
From what I've read so far, I give this book 2/5 stars.
Kara
Jul 01, 2016 added it
Shelves: ala2016, dnf
DNF at ten pages. Sad, I know. But dialect and a really odd writing style is just not working for me. If I have to struggle to read and pay attention, that is not something I can do right now. I wish I had sampled this before I picked it up but with everything in such a whirlwind at ALA, I wasn't able to do that. Will probably be passing this on to someone it is more suited for.
Simon Clark
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A stunning debut set in a thrilling, original world. Exciting, evocative, and absolutely gripping. Moby Dick meets Neil Gaiman.
Kimberly
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Extreme weirdness punctuated every so often by sex jokes. And the names for people and things bothered me - mostly he just added a letter and boom! it's a fantasy name. Lazy.
Kieran Higgins
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Riverkeep tells the story of Wulliam, fifteen coming sixteen, and soon to take over the role of Riverkeep from his father. As Riverkeep, it is their job to tend it - they keep its guiding laterns lit, they stop it icing over and the they have the dubious pleasure of fishing out the corpses of the drowned.

This is a role Wulliam is physically and mentally unprepared for. And things take a turn for the worse when Wulliam's father is attacked and possessed by a demonic sea creature. Knowing that hi
...more
Samantha
Oct 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, discarded
I read about 20% of this book, and it was really hard to read for more than a paragraph without my eyes glazing over. It feels so much like a first book--like the author is trying so hard to be clever. We have seulas (basically seals or sealions--can't call them that though). We have ursas (basically grizzly or polar bears--can't call them that though). We have half the writing attempting to be some crappy pseudo-middle English, "look, I'm Chaucer" bullshit (random misspellings, random doubling ...more
Charlie Moses
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has such a dark tone throughout that, in my memory, at least, all the scenes seem to take place in the long, cold winter nights of the story. The characters are eccentric, twisted, arcane. Each of them is in a dire and dangerous situation, where their only hope is to pursue a dangerous, magical beast wreaking havoc at the river's meeting-place with the sea. For a couple of them, there is a resolution of sorts. The fate of the others becomes a loose end. Will there be another book? Well ...more
Me
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
I recieved an ARC from my local library, who I assume got it for free for an honest review. (If they were paid, they didn't pass it on)

I expected more of an epic from Riverkeep.

It's written in dialect, which makes it difficult to read as I never got into the swing of it.

You meet a lot of characters, they'll have POVs several chapters in advance and then they'll appear to the main cast. I kind of couldn't care about most of them, and there wasn't properly built suspense for the other ones, so I
...more
Madeline Bernards
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Just not my cup of tea. I feel like the author tried to pack a lot in and it just didn't work for me. The story jumps around between a lot of stories and do come together at the end but are very hard to keep track of while reading. For it they just didn't all mesh together and made me lose interest very quickly.
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The YA Book Prize...: Discussion - Riverkeep by Martin Stewart 1 2 Mar 17, 2017 01:11PM  
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