My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book begins with an interesting set-up. I was especially taken with the author’s stated goal in writing the Infinite Games series: to show what happens to a society when its environment is degraded. Her blog, linked here, says that Infinite Games is the story of the Marshlanders’ struggle to create communities in harmony with nature.
I was engaged immediately with Bethany, an 11-year-old girl who I thought was going to be the main character. She was relatable and the circumstances of her headstrong behavior and rescue were well portrayed. I found the idea of riding the wind to be really fascinating and worth exploring more. The author has a good eye for detail and a strong voice. The matter-of-fact attitude displayed by the characters towards sex and other bodily functions is refreshing and, I think, appropriate to YA readers. Overall the book has an unsentimental, down-to-earth tone which makes the imagined world real to all the senses and helps the reader identify with the setting and the ecological theme.
But about 2/3 of the way through, the book lost focus, new characters arrived, and I became confused about what was happening. Bethany went offstage for long stretches. There is some excellent material here; perhaps it needs a more editing and shaping. Or perhaps one just needs to start with the first book in the series. I received this book as part of a giveaway and it whetted my appetite for more, but I wish it stood better on its own.
Like The Secret King: Lethao, which I reviewed last year, The Road to Beaver Mill is another tip of an iceberg. The more you delve into the accompanying materials, the more you will get out of the experience of reading.