I was lucky enough to request and receive a free copy of this from Bounce, in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.
Across the Risen Sea by Bren Macdibble
I have been hooked on Bren’s books ever since reading How to Bee in 2018 (you can read my reviews of them here and here!) So I was thrilled when Louise from Bounce was able to get me an early copy of her newest book Across the Risen Sea (thank you, Louise!)
Like the two books before it, Across the Risen Sea has strong environmental themes, this time set in a world in which climate change has seen the seas rise and cause devastation to the land and the way we live.
Neoma, Jag and their close-knit community live gentle lives on their small island, using minimal technology and salvaging what they can from now uninhabitable buildings in the risen sea.
They are a fairly self-sufficient community, trading with other nearby islands when needed, but otherwise keeping to themselves. So when three strangers from the mysterious Valley of the Sun turn up one day, chopping down trees without so much as a hello, and installing a power source and strange flashing light hackles are raised and brows are furrowed.
As they try to find out what the light is, Neoma and Jag find themselves at the centre of a sudden and shocking discovery. When Jag is then taken by the Valley of the Sun, Neoma sets off on a perilous journey across the risen sea to bring him back.
This is a thoroughly gripping and utterly thrilling adventure with a main character who’s everything you’d want her to be and everything you’d expect from Bren’s books! Feisty and impulsive, but loyal and courageous with a real sense of fairness, Neoma will do whatever it takes to get her friend back, protect her home and stand up for what’s right.
Her dealings with ‘Uncle Croc’ are wonderful to read with just the right balance of fear, humour and unpredictability. Indeed, the Croc was one if my favourite things in the story.
And her encounters with a very large shark and the meanest pirate I’ve ever read about were gripping, nail-biting stuff.
Powerful and angry, I could feel the shark nudging the boat, flicking its tails, circling closer. A true force of nature, it made for heart-stopping reading.
And Pirate Bradshaw was the smartest, quickest, gnarliest and above all meanest pirate you can imagine. All knives and more lives than a cat – what a character she was!
Neoma’s destination, The Valley of the Sun, is shrouded in mystery and when she reaches it, it’s a thrill to explore it! A really marvellous and imaginative bit of world-building!
This was an exciting and dramatic rescue mission, a story of friendship, sticking together and community.
It was also, as Bren’s books always are, a gentle reminder to look after our world, a warning that we could lose it all just like that.
There is much to consider as we see the differing views and uses of technology and resources across different places in the book, as well as the way Neoma’s community no longer use money, reverting to trading, bartering and collaboration.
There is also a strong message about how we deal with disagreements and differing opinions, ways of life and ideas. Marta from Neoma’s village could certainly teach our politicians a thing or two about respect, tolerance and understanding!
Another fantastic book from one of my favourite authors of recent years, bringing together climate change, community and courage in a thoroughly enjoyable adventure across the risen sea.