My dear bookish friends,
Victoria Williamson has turned out to be my new go-to author of the year – she literally never disappoints! The Whistlers in the Dark is another book I really enjoyed, so please read on to find out why, and for more info about the book!
As always, a huge thank you to TheWriteReads and the author for my ebook and my spot on this tour (none of which influenced my review or rating in any way).
About the Book
Scotland, 158 AD, is a divided country.
On one side of the Antonine Wall, thirteen-year-old Felix is trying to become a good Roman soldier like his father. On the other, twelve-year old Jinny is vowing revenge on the ‘metal men’ who have invaded her Damnonii tribe’s homeland. At the Damnonii’s sacred circle of standing stones, her planned attack on Felix goes badly wrong, awakening a legend that threatens to bring fire and destruction down on them all.
Can Jinny and Felix overcome their differences and soothe the stones back to sleep before it’s too late?
It is seldom the case that I really enjoy every book I read by an author, but Victoria Williamson seems to be one of those rare few whose books are just so gripping and enjoyable!
The Whistlers in the Dark is told from two perspectives: Jinny and Felix. I really liked that both characters present a very different version of and opinion on what happened. Both characters are done extremely well in my opinion. You feel like you know Jinny and Felix right from their respective opening chapters.
Something else I really enjoyed is that there is also an unusual level of historical research that has clearly been done for a middle grade which I definitely appreciated. It is not that common that you will learn a bit about history from a middle grade novel, so this was a very cool addition here!
I have to say I found Jinny’s chapters the more appealing. I just found myself more invested each time I saw her name at the top, maybe that was down to her voice, or maybe because her chapters felt more fantastical and wild and magical, whereas the chapters written in the POV of Felix read more like a historical fiction (well, fantasy) really, with a much more solid grounding in history and reality.
I am not certain about the classification of the book, it’s marketed as a middle grade historical fantasy and while yes, it definitely is that, I did feel that some descriptions (no spoilers though!!) felt like they were more fitting for a slightly older audience. Also, I felt like the writing was supposed to reflect a certain dialect and perhaps a way of historical speech which on the one hand I really liked, but at the same time together with the more modern-day descriptions and words used especially some of the direct speech seemed a bit out of place in my opinion.
But overall, this is a great book for both younger readers and older, you get a nice dose of history as part of your fantasy, and I feel like it could stir up children’s interest in learning more about ancient Scotland, Hadrian’s Wall and the native tribes’ struggle against the Romans.
This is definitely another read-worthy book by Victoria Williamson – 4 stars from me!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick this up too!