Well Between the Worlds by Sam Llewellyn
from the back of the book:
Once, this country was green and pleasant. Now the land is sinking, and the sea batters its walls. Lyonesse has become a place of poison and danger, and its people live in an uneasy truce with the monsters that inhabit its bottomless Wells.
Idris Limpet is an ordinary boy, until the day he is rescued from a terrible death and finds himself thrown into an astonishing new adventure. Can it be that it is his destiny to save Lyonesse? And can one boy and one girl stand in the way of a colossal evil with its roots sunk deep in ages of wickedness?
Well Between the Worlds is the first in a series and as such has some set up and explaining to do to introduce you to the world that has been created. But it is done well so you don’t get the boring lecture where you feel like you are reading the rules before you get to play the game. There are some words that are made up, obviously for the things that are also made up, but also for existing things. They are not hard to figure out (when they are eating zupper you know what that means) but personally I would rather have the real words used instead. There are a few elements that seem to come right from the Legend of King Arthur but there is much here that is original and interesting. The relationship between monsters and men, the setting and the attitudes of some of the characters give the book a dark, creepy, and foreboding feel. There is a sense of menace. You worry about the people and the land. There were a few places when I thought things happened too quickly, they weren’t friends and then they were, Idris is told something that would be hard to believe but without pause for thought he starts making big dangerous plans based on it. The speed at which things were accepted was unnaturally fast sometimes and a little more development in some spots would have been nice. But there is a lot of action and a lot of story so I understand the desire not to slow down the narrative too much so the fast pace is forgivable. Since there is more story to come there are many things that get left up in the air at the end of the book but it does not leave you in the middle of a scene. It takes a nice pause so you get a kind of ending but still have questions and want more. I was left wanting to know what happens next.