April 20, 2024

BLOG TOUR Deep is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson

Hi friends! Welcome to tour organized by TBR and Beyond Tours for Deep is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson. Check out the post to learn more about the book and the author as well as where you can get a copy of the book. Make sure you show the other tour hosts some love as well. The link to the tour schedule is below. 

Happy reading everyone!

Deep is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson Tour Schedule (TBR and Beyond Tours)

About the Book

Merry doesn’t need a happily-ever-after. Her life in the charming, idyllic town of Candlecott is fine just as it is. Simple, happy, and with absolutely no magic. Magic only ever leads to trouble.

But Merry’s best friend, Teddy, is joining the Toadmen—a secret society who specialize in backward thinking and suspiciously supernatural traditions—and Merry is determined to stop him. Even if it means teaming up with the person she hates most: her academic archnemesis, Caraway Boswell, an ice-cold snob who hides his true face under a glamour.

An ancient Toad ritual is being held in the sinister Deeping Fen, and if Merry doesn’t rescue Teddy before it’s finished, she’ll lose him forever. But the Toadmen have been keeping dangerous secrets, and so has Caraway. The farther Merry travels into Deeping Fen’s foul waters, the more she wonders if she’s truly come to save her friend . . . or if she’s walking straight into a trap.

There’s nothing the Toadmen love more than a damsel in distress.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing date: April 16th, 2024

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REVIEW of Deep is the Fen by Lili Wilkinson
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Format: eARC (Courtesy of Publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours) and Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Lili Wilkinson’s newest young adult fantasy novel, Deep is the Fen, was a surprisingly gripping read. Mixing bits of fantasy and fairy tale with romance and mystery, I was hooked rather quickly after starting. At times, I thought I knew where the story was going but the author kept me on my toes. 

Merriweather Morgan, usually referred to as ‘Merry’ or ‘Morgan’ enjoys life with her best friends Teddy and Sol while also keeping her ability to see magic (or “mettle”) a secret from everyone she knows. When Teddy decides he wants to join the same male only group her father is a part of, the ‘Toadmen’, Merry is desperate to stop him and not lose one of her only friends. When she teams up with rival Caraway Boswell, however, they discover there’s a lot more to the Toadmen than meets the eye. 

Worldbuilding caught my attention in this book fairly quickly. I really loved the secret society nature of the Toadmen, as well as the magic system in place in the world. Magic is controlled by powerful corporations, and they’ve made it taboo for anyone to practice it outside of what they produce. Rogue witches are locked away for “rehabilitation”, and the practices of groups like the Toadmen are ignored in the name of power. There are some darker elements in the book (bordering on horror), but I think it all blended together very well to create a narrative I found myself very invested in.

The characters were compelling too. I really liked Caraway and Merry’s dynamic, and it was fun to see their progression from rivals to lovers. As a secondary relationship, it was also nice to see Teddy and Sol’s love story too, especially since it’s a queer romance (Sol is described to be transgender early in the story). The various side characters were compelling too, and I appreciated how they added to the overall narrative. 

My only complaint about the book was the setting. It was really hard to envision at times, what with the seemingly fairy tale village esque references mixed with more contemporary references (i.e. prom, conventions, cars, etc.) Once we got to the Fen, it was easier but everything outside of that was almost mismatched in my head at times. 

Overall, this was a great read and I’m happy I took the time to pick it up after the blog tour. I would recommend this book to young adult fantasy readers who enjoy unique worldbuilding, innovative magic systems, and a “rivals to lovers” romance subplot. Narrator Imogen Wilde did an excellent job with her performance in the audiobook. While this book is standalone (and wraps up nicely), I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Wilkinson’s books in the future (especially her debut novel, A Hunger of Thorns which I learned is set in the same world as this book). 

Thank you to the author, the publisher Delacorte Press, the team at TBR and Beyond Tours, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book as part of my participation in the blog tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Deep is the Fen immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way. 

About the Author

Lili Wilkinson is the award-winning author of eighteen books for young people, including The Erasure Initiative and After the Lights Go Out. Lili has a PhD from the University of Melbourne, and is a passionate advocate for YA and the young people who read it, establishing the Inky Awards at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. Her latest book is Deep is the Fen.

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