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Review: Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep - Philip Reeve

Genre: Middle-grade Fantasy

Published: David Fickling Books, September 2021

My Rating: 5/5 stars


Utterly Dark is a foundling, washed up on the shores of the Autumn Isles and taken in by Andrewe Dark, the mysterious Watcher of Wildsea. When her guardian walks into the ocean one day and drowns, Utterly is thrust into the role of Watcher… can she keep the island safe from the threat of the terrifying Gorm?

Unforeseen mysteries lie beneath the ocean’s surface. Adventure beckons, and Utterly will unearth astonishing secrets about the sea, her parents and life itself. Wildsea will never be the same again…

As the entrancing, unfathomable power of the sea fills Utterly Dark’s dreams, so it will seep into your heart as you read this thrilling, magical story.


Philip Reeve delivered a wonderful adventure story full of whimsy, magic and just the right amount of thrills. His engaging storytelling and superb worldbuilding completely transported me to the Autumn Isles; I could practically taste the salt and feel the sand and rocks between my toes. Luckily this coastal world is a joyous place to be in thanks to the vivid descriptions and the wonderful characters that inhabit it.

A well-paced plotline with surprising emotional depth and some well placed wordplay throughout the story make this a joy to read for both adults and kids alike.

Highly recommend this book, especially to fans of for example The Weather Weaver, A Pinch of Magic and Orphans of the Tide.

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep is available in print from September 2nd in physical-and online stores. Many thanks to the publisher David Fickling for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

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