Herrick's End (The Neath #1) | Review
Updated: Apr 29, 2022
Rating - ⭐⭐
"You did nothing. You were nothing. And so, you shall remain here, until the end of your days. As nothing.
Ollie's only friend disappeared a few days ago, and now, he's frantic to find her. But he doesn't have much to go on until a mysterious note arrives which reads:
"Still looking for your friend? I know where she is."
Unfortunately for Ollie, the trail leads to the last place he'd ever expect.
The kind of place where magic spills like blood, vengeance is merciless, and escape seems all but impossible.
Worse still, it soon becomes clear that someone-or something-was expecting him.
Now, time is running out.
If Ollie has any hope of ever seeing home again, he's going to have to summon every last scrap of courage, smarts, and tenacity he can find. And none of it will matter if he can't get some help. Fast.
Because Ollie might not know much about the vast underworld that's ensnared him, but he does know this:
He'll never make it out alone."
Herrick's End is the first novel in the novel in the YA fantasy series, The Neath, by T.M. Blanchet.
First and foremost, I would like to thank NetGalley and Tiny Fox Press for giving me the opportunity to review this in advance. Please note that this in no way affects my opinion. Also note that what I read was an ARC, and things may be subject to change for the official release.
While I was reading this, my computer decided to restart and I lost my spot, but I found that it didn't matter much if I missed something. That pretty much sums up how I felt about this book.
This is the kind of book that makes me ask why? Why did the author choose this as the story they wanted to tell? I simply didn't find this story to be all that interesting.
Let's get into the details.
We start out with an opening that was arguably better than the actual story but was severely underutilized, unfortunately. Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, is quite the place to choose to start out your story. A promise of witches and revenge never happened though, as we immediately fast-forwarded to the present where our story actually takes place.
We follow Ollie who, due to a series of circumstances, ends up in Herrick's End, a magical sanctuary for people looking to escape the real world. When the story started, for a second I thought this was about food because that was all Ollie could think about (but I will get into more of that later)m which is just one of the directional issues I had with the plot.
The story just went in an odd direction in general, and I didn't enjoy it nor how it was handled. There was very little correlation or explanation about the connection between the story that was happening, and what occurred in the introduction. I have a feeling that the story is going to be dragged out, as I think this could have been made into a solid standalone if it was developed properly.
None of the characters were particularly interesting or had any gravitas. I said earlier on that I thought this food was about food because of how much it was talked about, and it ends up being the backbone of Ollie's character. The author was intensely focused on making it known how conscious Ollie was of his weight, to the point where it felt very forced. His weight ended up becoming his character, so I am unsure whether or not this was good representation.
Ollie also was simply just not a good 'chosen one' character. He was understandably way over his head considering the situation he got himself into, but he constantly went out of his and got himself in trouble even after he was warned.
I don't have much to say about any of the others characters aside from Nell. Nell is the catalyst for the story and someone who was barely in the story. When the story started out being about trying to find Nell, it would have made sense for her to have some kind of presence within the story rather than being sidelined. I think it was just a poor use of a character and storyline.
Nell wasn't the only character who was not utilized well either, as Herrick, the namesake for the town, was barely in it which was odd considering his role in the story. Maybe his story will be explored more in the next book, but it would have been helpful for some context about the world. There was also the addition of Ollie's father which was not needed at all as it didn't add anything to the narrative.
This wasn't the story I was expecting nor was it one that I wanted. I thought it was going to be about one thing, but the direction it went in instead just wasn't interesting.