Welcome to my stop in the The Other Side of the Whale Road book tour! Thank you so much to TheWriteReads for including me in this tour, and to the publisher for my review copy. This in no way affects my opinion.
Title: The Other Side of the Whale Road
Author: K. A. Hayton
Publisher: Lightning Books
Audience: Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd September 2021
‘The Vikings are better armed than we are. They have long, heavy axes that can take a man’s head from his shoulder. I know this because I see it happen’
When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.
The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?
And will he ever get home?
I wasn’t sure what to expect heading into The Other Side of the Whale Road as it is K. A. Hayton’s debut novel, and I don’t think I have read something similar to it for a very long time. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much that I ended up enjoying it.
When it comes to the characters, I liked them, but as the book is so short, I didn’t think that I got to know the secondary characters as much as I wanted. I really liked Joss and the strength he had after all that he had been through; I think his story was an important story to tell. When it came to some of the other characters, I feel like we got glimpses of stories that K. A. Hayton could have told with them, but they just weren’t followed through with, but what we did get told I really liked. I particularly liked Merwenna and Leofric and would have loved to have seen a little bit more of their relationship.
The plot of The Other Side of the Whale Road is unlike anything I have read for a long time, which I really loved. I loved the contrast between the two settings, and how Joss interacted with the characters in both was really interesting. I think this contrast helped progress the story as the first couple of chapters are a little slow in the build-up to the time travel. But once the time travel starts, the book picks up the pace.
I think that K. A. Hayton’s writing style really lent itself to this type of novel, as her writing flowed really well between the two timelines and gave you a lot of information without it being info-dumpy. I particularly liked the elements of historical context without it feeling like I was sat in a boring history lesson. The Other Side of the Whale Road is a great book if you want to learn more about the Anglo-Saxons but don’t want to read it out of a textbook.
I am looking forward to seeing what K. A. Hayton is going to write next as I really enjoyed her debut novel. I really recommend picking up The Other Side of the Whale Road, especially if you like your history.
About the Author
K. A. Hayton was born in Lincolnshire and read English at Sheffield University. She lives in Suffolk with her husband and has two daughters. The idea for The Other Side of the Whale Road came from her study of old English poetry at university, and from living in a place where Anglo-Saxon history feels very close.