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The Riverman (The Riverman Trilogy) Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
What do you do when the girl next door asks you to write her biography? If you’re Alistair Cleary you’re initially quite flattered. Then, as you hear her story, that sense of pride may begin to fade. When Fiona Loomis informs Alistair that he needs to hear her tale because she regularly escapes to a magical land called Aquavania where a villain called The Riverman is waiting to steal her soul, he’s understandably perturbed. It seems far more likely that the creepy uncle living in her house is the source of these dark fantasies and the boy becomes determined to save her. Yet as more time goes on, Alastair begins to notice unnerving parallels between Aquavania and the small town in which he lives. Parallels that begin to suggest there’s more to Fiona’s story than anyone could possibly imagine.
First and foremost, we’re going to have to face facts here.Read more ›
The one thing I did enjoy about this book is the imagination that went into it. In particular, the world of Aquavania, a world where stories are born from the mind of each new visitor, is supremely creative. The idea that one can control what their world is like, complete with inhabitants and activities, is attractive (especially if you're an aspiring author).
It also comes with a nasty villain in the form of the Riverman, who sounds positively evil. Would it be strange to say that the Riverman is my favorite character? Because he is, even though he barely appears for most of the novel. The fact that he represents the imminent death of anything imagined in Aquavania is creepy, which is just the way I like bad guys to be.
Apart from the inventive content, The Riverman just kind of... existed. There's a story, one that combines events in the real world with events in Aquavania (as retold by Fiona). I didn't particularly connect with our narrator Alistair or the fanciful Fiona, as there were parts where I was simply uninterested in what was going on. So, the story went on, and I kept reading, but there was really no emotional attachment.
If there's one thing that surprises me about The Riverman, it's the darkness of its content for a novel for children. There are mature topics - drinking, drugs, kidnapping, murder among them - included.Read more ›
The first thing I noticed was that the tone was way too mature for a 12-year-old. It sounds like an adult is narrating it. While this is justifiable because Alistair is telling the story from a possibly distant future perspective, it still may be difficult for kids to get into. Nevertheless, I felt like Alistair's feelings, choices and reactions fell steadily into middle grade territory, which was enough for me to buy into his character. Some say the love stuff was a bit much for a 12-year-old, and I could see that, but as I recall a lot of emotions (particularly love) are a bit over the top for middle schoolers, so it was not a problem for me. I DO think the story would be stronger if it were more of a friendship love rather than a romantic love. It works, though.
Although it may be mature, I believe the tone is one of the novel's biggest strengths. It is consistent, ominous and tense. Starmer's expert use of misdirection provides incredible momentum, and I felt like Starmer did a great job of pacing, regularly dropping hints at a tragic future. At the same time he gives plenty of very candid moments to develop the characters. There are plenty of asides and anecdotes that aren't necessarily vital for the plot, but they are used superbly to build tension and promote the tone. They are also interesting enough on their own merit to prevent me from ever feeling bored or wanting to get back to the "real" story. I felt like the tragedy of Charlie blowing his hands off or Alistair almost being hit by the car felt genuine, as I felt all of the details of this story were very convincing. The way Alistair describes his love for Fiona, for example, seemed very authentic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This page turner is a dark, dark story. Two childhood friends reconnect at age 12 when Fiona Loomis shares a secret story with Alistair Cleary. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Deborah Sandford
This is a difficult book to review, as it's unlike anything I've read before, especially in its beginning and end. Read morePublished 2 months ago by R. M. Fisher
I read this book in one evening...because I absolutely could not put it down! As I was reading the last few chapters, I realized I was holding my breath. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
In the Riverman, author Aaron Starmer takes the predictable fantasy formula and turns it upside down and inside out. Read morePublished 11 months ago by PDXbibliophile
Awesome book it is the best. So many twists and a little romance unexpected friendships and risking your life for the other. Read morePublished 13 months ago by crazylae
Excellent read. Well developed characters and a universe which is rich and surreal. I'm a grownup and I found this to be a story I enjoyed at this point in my life, and would... Read morePublished 17 months ago by b-dog
Alistair is the type of person who can keep secrets. He’s observant and quiet. Smart. When his neighbor Fiona Loomis asks him to write her biography, he reluctantly agrees. Read morePublished 24 months ago by The Compulsive Reader