This is the story of a sleepy town called Suds. A place where stories fill the air of children who keep turning grey and disappearing without a trace…
Poppy and Erasmus are certain there’s something peculiar going on in Suds, and they’re determined to unravel its secrets. But when they discover the answers might lie in the dark and twisting woods, can they find the courage to creep inside and solve this riddling mystery?
I was ridiculously lucky to get an uncorrected proof of this book and I couldn’t wait to read it. With such a beautiful cover (I mean look at it?!) I had very very high expectations and certainly was not disappointed.
I absolutely loved it!
As Poppy arrives in Suds the mysteries and peculiarities start to build and makes for a story that is suspenseful, eerie and just a little bit dark. Along with Erasmus, she investigates the strange events that are happening to the town’s children, which everyone seems to be ignoring. Having such a good balance or investigation, folklore, fairytale, and magic, the story develops with every chapter and I was hooked.
Alongside this investigation, Poppy’s relationship with her Dad, Gran and her time at school are all explored to make her a well developed, relatable character. This gave heart and emotion to the story with a mysterious backdrop. Dealing with the events before the start of the book and the death of her mum pushes her along to the path to finding the truth about the goings on in Riddling Wood. She finds hidden clues about her mother’s childhood in Suds at almost every turn and I thoroughly enjoyed joining Poppy along for the ride. Given the situation, I found her relationship with her Dad understandable, each dealing with it in a different manner. I’ve read so many books where the parents are almost ignored for the story to unfold and this did the opposite, which was refreshing to read. With Erasmus being such an interesting character also, I’m so glad we got to see more of his situation too as his and Poppy’s friendship grew.
I definitely had Roald Dahl’s The Witches vibes from this book. It was eerie and there were some very unpleasant characters in it, so it isn’t the kind of dark story that keeps you up at night in terror, but the kind that gives you goosebumps as it builds suspense. It makes you question everything – is that too much of a coincidence? Why does Poppy’s Gran live by such strange rules? Is that woman just strange or is she acting weird on purpose? Why does that woman wear sunglasses so much? Am I always this paranoid reading a children’s book?
With so much build up to the ending, it felt ever so slightly rushed but I’m struggling to even call that a flaw because it still flowed perfectly and I didn’t feel like anything was particularly missing. I really liked how everything concluded in this book, so I kinda hope there isn’t a sequel. Because Halpin’s writing is so good, with an excellent imagination, I’d love to see what he could come up with next and I will definitely buy whatever that may be.
Speaking of buying (nice segue Beth) – you can buy this amazing book from the following places (it would be a lot if you could use the affiliate links, it helps us continue doing what we love and doesn’t cost you a penny!) As of writing (8th January 2019) it is just £3.49 on Kindle and £5.49 in paperback.