Title: Briar Coats And The Tunnel Of Styx
Author: K.J. Long
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: November 1st, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Briar is a wild boy. Living in a mangrove-tree city, he has been assigned the job of builder, but he is desperate to become an explorer.
At least he can swim in the lake for solace—that is, until he realizes that he can breathe underwater!
There he meets Verity, a person who looks like him, but she has a long flowing tail and a green glow. Verity helps Briar learn the truth about his father’s disappearance, and helps him change the underwater world of Naraka for the better.
Briar Coats And The Tunnel Of Styx is a fun and quick read. The world building was done well and the resulting setting was interesting. While I do think a bit more information could’ve been added, that didn’t hinder the story or my enjoyment.
The characters in this book were three dimensional, and Briar was a likeable character. He wasn’t perfect and one thing that really stuck out to me was that when he did something that he knew was right but he didn’t like it he complained internally or made it known that he was not a fan of what was happening. Usually in middle grade stories the MC’s opinion on something changes to teach a lesson about the right thing to do. But the fact that Briar grumbled to himself while doing something made hime feel very real.
While the story was intriguing and attention grabbing, the fact that the story wouldn’t have taken place if Briar hadn’t followed someone he just met to her kingdom and stayed with her for a while is really strange to me. The part of the story that takes place in the underwater kingdom begins after Briar follows a girl he met once before to her home and he knew that he would be gone for at least a few days. And he never thought about his mother once.
The climax while fun to read was also unbelievable. As the villain was built up the be this powerful character that we saw to be feared by all other characters in the book but Briar a child with relatively no training created a strategy, lead the other characters to the battle, gave them instructions and defeated this villain almost singlehandedly. The ending was done in the happy open-ended way that is frequently seen in Middle-Grade stories and while I am not a fan of this, I begrudge the authors for this.
That’s All I Got, Danielle.