Thursday, October 15, 2015

ARC Review: City of Thirst by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Title: City of Thirst
Series: The Pirate Stream #2
Author: Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
Published: October 13, 2015
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis transport readers back to the boundless world of the Pirate Stream in this engaging and exhilarating sequel to the highly acclaimed The Map to Everywhere that is equal parts adventure, humor, and heart! 

When the magical waters of the Pirate Stream begin flooding Marrill's world, the only way to stop the destruction is to return to the Stream and find the source of the mysterious Iron Tide. Reunited with her best friend Fin--who has been forgotten all over again--Marrill, her disbelieving babysitter, and the Enterprising Kraken crew must make the treacherous trek to the towering, sliding, impossible world of Monerva and uncover the secrets of its long-lost wish machine. Only there can Fin wish to finally be remembered. Only there can Marrill wish to save her world and all the people she loves. But to get everything they've ever wanted, Marrill and Fin may have to give up on the most important thing they already have: each other.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

This is such a fun series. I read the first book, The Map to Everywhere, last fall and I fell in love with this world and the characters. I don't read a lot of Middle Grade but from time to time I like a good portal fantasy as a palate cleanse and this series is so perfect for that.

This is so very Fin if you ask me.
One of the things that I like so much about this series is the characters and it was great to catch up with them. Usually in a book my favorite characters are the secondary ones, and while The Pirate Stream has some really fun ones including wizards, pirates, and all many of crazy creatures they are not the ones that made the biggest impression on me. In this series it is all about our main characters who I found so endearing in the first book. So I was excited in City of Thirst to pick up with Marrill and Fin, two characters who are quirky in the best possible way. You can't help but want to see them to succeed and laugh along with them as hilarity and hijinx ensue. They are intelligent, resourceful, and funny. And as much as I love Marrill and her happy go lucky attitude, I like Fin a little bit more. But that's mostly because he's such a unique character being that no one can ever remember him. His so memorable in that he's so forgetful. But that's also what makes his so fun and quirky. All the characters in this series are fun and quirky.

But that is not the only thing about this book that is unique in a fun and quirky way.  The setting and world of this book is like that as well. It's such a creative world that I have loved exploring. It is a portal fantasy so the Pirate Stream is reminiscent of some other Middle Grade fantasies but while it feels familiar it is also so creative and silly in the best possible way. We get to explore more of the Pirate Stream in City of Thirst and everywhere that this book takes us within this world is so interesting. Here instead of exploring a lot of different parts of the Stream they stayed in one place but what a complex place it was. It was like peeling away many layers and finding something totally different under the surface. And while they essentially stayed in one place throughout the book it was so far from boring. This world has tons of magic and mystery and I loved being able to explore it.

Which of course brings me to my next point. The plot here was basic but so engaging. Yes, again I say it is a Middle Grade portal fantasy, and if you have read many of those like I have you know that usually those entail some kind of Hero's Journey and epic adventure. And yes, that's what happened here. It was really well plotted and paced. Little things from earlier in the book came together in the end to lead us to a conclusion that was full of surprises and fun. It built to a pretty high stakes climax that actually had me concerned and curious as to how it would all end. But it's not all sunshine and roses, there are some struggles along the way. I'm not sure if they were playing with the tropes or I'm reading too much into it but I really like that everything doesn't go perfectly. The characters make mistakes, they take risks, they do rash things that often get them into more trouble. It makes things all the more realistic and interesting. But on the whole, this book is full of tons of action that people for all ages will love.

I'm really enjoying this series and it seems to be the perfect palate cleanse for me to read during the fall when I tend to read more atmospheric and complex reads. This is just such a fun and quirky read that is full of adventure and great characters that I am becoming so invested in.

I give City of Thirst by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you are looking for a book to get for the middle grade loving child in your life I would definitely recommend this one. But it's not just for kids. Definitely check this out if you are looking for a fun and unique Middle Grade fantasy that will make you laugh, have you on the edge of your seat, and remind you of the books you loved as a kid.


  1. Happy Book 2 is as great as the first. Love the Pirate Stream!

  2. This series looks so interesting, but I don't know much about it! I loved Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I've been really curious about how this middle-grade series would work out. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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