“Rotherweird” by Andrew Caledcott – Review

For book group we read this forgettable if moderately entertaining fantasy which borrows a hodgepodge of ideas with very little discrimination.

From the opening it seems to want to be a Hogwarts tale without the nuisance of the child characters – and it tries to ape Rowling’s freewheeling eccentricity, but in doing so serves only to highlight how good she is at crafting her stories – with nothing introduced without a clear explanation of how it fits and what role it plays.

Caldecott plays fast and loose with his McGuffin, the ‘mixing point’ which is introduced as a super-natural mechanism for splicing organisms together but which soon takes on the ability to do anything convenient to the plot.

He’s certainly not minimalist in story elements – there are dozens of characters, some of whom are engaging enough, for not all of whom it is possible to keep track of as they change names and/or flashback to multiple time periods.

Perhaps the significance of some of the tangents, or the motivations of some of some of characters, will become apparent in the subsequent volumes, but I don’t think I’ll be finding out.

I gave it 5/10. Not everyone in the book group managed to get through it.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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