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Down the Mysterly River

Down the Mysterly River is a new middle-grade fantasy novel by Bill Willingham.

Max "the Wolf" prides himself on being an excellent young detective and highly aware of his surroundings as a lauded Boy Scout - but he has no idea where he is, and no memory how he got there. It's a forest - that's clear. But he doesn't remember being on a camping trip, and he can't hear any fellow Scouts.

Then Max meets a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and a feisty barn cat called McTavish the Monster, whom all have the ability of talking - and aren't the least bit surprised about it. The thing they find the most strange is that Max can understand them.

But they all share the same problem: they don't remember how they arrived in this wood.

And then when determined hunters, called Blue Cutters, begin to pursue them doggedly, carrying with them dangerous blue swords, they find themselves fighting to survive - or fighting to survive as they are. Because the blue swords seem to be able to change the very essence of their prey into something unrecognizable...

Down the Mysterly River has a great tone of humor and straightforwardness. Each character introduced is fun, vibrant, and likable with their colorful personalities and the different traits they bring to the mysterious adventure. It has a bit of a whimsical fairy-tale feeling - but with a little edge as the Blue Cutters enigmatic threat creeps ever nearer.

I was very interested and entertained - primarily by the intuitive Max and the delightful talking animals! But as some of my natural assumptions became twisted and unexpected turns threw the plot out the window to reveal a shocker of an ending - I was surprised how effective the near tear-enducing conclusion was! The resolution made Down the Mysterly River more than just a thrilling, fun, fantasy adventure - it became a charming, moving, bittersweet tale that features bravery and friendship.

I'd say Down the Mysterly River is for any of you bibliophiles that are young at heart!


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