Author: Katharine Orton
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Publication Date: April 2020
A snowy adventure, set in the wilds of Siberia, full of magic and wonder.
Born in a Soviet prison camp, Lina has never seen the world outside until the night she escapes with her best friend, Bogdan. As the pair journey across a snowy wilderness, they are pursued by a vengeful sorceress and her pack of shadow wolves. The children will need every ounce of courage – and a whisper of magic – if they are to survive… (Goodreads).
I’ve been in an MG mood lately with everything still being so intense and crazy out in the wide world. MG books have been a saving grace. Their wonder, whimsy and wholesome themes have kept my sanity safely in place and anxiety at bay. So this ARC couldn’t have come along at a better time.
Nevertell was a perfect read for my mood this week. With fantastical wolf-beasts, a vengeful sorceress and themes of friendship and love this story kept me happily entertained! Orton’s writing is fast-paced and full of energy. I was expecting a wild, adventurous ride and Nevertell certainly delivered on that.
Lina and Bogdan were easy-to-like characters that had a level of strength I hadn’t been expecting, considering their age. Forced to grow up fast in the Soviet Camp, these children faced battles head-on with a maturity well beyond their young teen years. While this would usually be considered to be a lack of effort to accurately portray a younger character, in this case it seemed appropriate. These children had suffered so much. Anything extra in the fight for freedom just seemed like the norm to them.
That said, the characters’ complete and unwavering strength made it hard to connect with them and story overall. I was expecting there to be a lot of emotional impact in this book due to the Soviet Camp and their fight for freedom but it didn’t really come across that way. Instead Lina and Bogdan took me on a fantastical, adventurous ride but I wasn’t overly invested in their plight. I hoped for a happy ending but would have been okay without one.
Additionally, I was expecting a lot more depth with the inclusion of Lina’s magical powers and soviet themes in this book. There was some growth of powers and the camp was present however, I wish Orton would have gone in to more detail on these. These issues made me reduce my rating to 3.5 stars, as opposed to 4.
*ARC provided via Walker Books Ltd via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*