The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein
Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406368857
(Age: 9+) We stood there for a moment, the drop of water and I. And then we both leapt at once. Hyacinth Hayward has accidently unleashed magical powers flowing under London. The shambling Saltpetre Men have kidnapped her mother and the Toshers want to trap her in the sewers. Then a giant pig in a swimsuit, Oaroboarus, insists on an underground tea party, but Lady Roslyn has other plans. The clock is ticking and Hyacinth must figure out who to trust.
For those children who like books such as A Series of Unfortunate Events, where good needs to conquer evil, this is a must read for them. It is easy to read with the text being relatively large. Weinstein has written a book that is extremely imaginative with clever little twists and turns. It is full of action, humour and descriptive language that truly brings alive the repulsive stench associated with sewers. Historical places in London have been cleverly interwoven throughout the storyline.
Hyacinth is a strong lead character, ably supported by Lady Roslyn. Their friendship strengthens as the story unfolds.
Themes such as friendship, perseverance and adventure run strongly through the book. This book will sit nicely alongside other fantasy books on the shelf and is the first in a trilogy. Suitable for ages 9 and up.