Monday 4 September 2023

UPCOMING RELEASE: Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell


Published by: Bloomsbury, 14th September 2023

If you love fantastical creatures, then this is the fantasy series for you. Inspired by an unfinished poem written by John Donne, Katherine Rundell combines unicorns with griffins with dragons and a plethora of other incredible creatures and whisks us away to a hidden realm: the Archipelago...

When Christopher goes to Scotland to stay with his grandfather, he is startled to see a thunder of mythical creatures tearing down the hill towards the house, leaving his grandfather no choice but to reveal the truth: he is a guardian of a portal between the human world and the Archipelago, a place where creatures of myth are protected. 

But the magical protection is weakening and when he encounters a strange, flying girl called Mal who is in desperate need of help, Christopher accompanies her back to the Archipelago where a dangerous quest awaits them...

This is a fast-paced adventure that moves at the speed of a dragon on a mission. The world-building is dazzling, the characters instantly loveable - Mal and Nighthand being firm favourites - and Gelifen, well, will steal your heart. There's sphinxes and manticores and karkadanns to reckon with as well as well as dark human power. 

As with other recent fantasies, one of the most prominent themes of the novel is the human destruction of the planet and the creatures within it. There's also an interesting exploration of the theme of power including, of course, the power of friendship. This first novel covers more ground than I initially thought it would, leaving it open for the next instalment to go in an unknown and exciting direction. There's certainly lots more places to explore and lots more creatures to meet. 

This is a different genre to Katherine Rundell's other fantastic novels: Rooftoppers, Girl Savage, The Explorer and The Good Thieves (Wolf Wilder being the one we haven't read) but the magical element is truly magic. I always enjoy Rundell's characters, including the adult ones she weaves into her stories, but this time it's the creatures that will make your heart soar, make your heart break and fill you with the wonder of imagination. 

A big thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for allowing me a review copy. Impossible Creatures is available to pre-order and is released on 14th September 2023. 

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