Monday 13 May 2024

Deep Is the Fen

Deep Is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin) ISBN: 9781761066863 PB RRP $24.99

Reviewed by Melissa Wray

Merriweather Morgan is happy living in Candlecott with her Da and two best friends, Teddy and Sol. That is until Teddy decides he wants to join a secret society of Toadman. Merry will do everything in her power to stop him, even if that means joining forces with her academic nemesis, the arrogant snob, Caraway Boswell. But what seems a simple agreement to help each other soon turns into a life and death battle of higher powers for everyone she loves. 

Merry is a feisty, smart, independent, and determined girl on the cusp of adulthood with a university scholarship to look forward to. She lives in a world where magical powers are illegal, except for a few pre-approved spells. So, with a gift like Merry’s that allows her to read the mettle (life being) of others, she must be careful.

Caraway comes from wealth, prestige and a world far removed from Merry’s. Yet she finds herself drawn further and further into his world. One that becomes darker and more dangerous the deeper she goes. In his world she must determine truth from lies, magic from reality, loyalty from deception and love from lust.

Wilkinson’s ability to build a world of magical realism is extraordinary. She weaves a completely new language into a world of supernatural lives and traditions, but one that is easy to follow and understand. Wilkinson also provides the description of the characters, surrounds and events with such detail, it is easy to imagine Merry’s world of ancient Toadmen, mystical Deeping Fen and the glamours used to disguise the real world and what unfolds in it. The world building in this novel is exquisite!

This novel has themes of family, friendship, loss, loyalty, humour, romance, and magical realism that complement each one completely. The story will be devoured in its entirety because once you start reading, you will not stop until the final and dramatic conclusion. Deep Is the Fen is suitable for a 13+ years readership.


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