I was browsing the shelves of Libreria Toletta in Venice, Italy, when this book caught my eye. Truth be told, I wasn’t keen on picking up another young adult novel just then, but there it was — beautiful cover and all. And I’m really glad I picked it up because it was a splendid read.
Louvric writes with lovely detail, filling the pages with mystery and wonder. Since I was in Venice for the winter holidays, it was a cold and foggy Venice for most of my visit — shrouded in a thick fog at night with cold mists blowing in around mid-afternoon. In other words, it was perfect for a good tale of murder and villainy in the floating city. And that’s exactly what The Undrowned Child delivered: two lovable child-protagonists who find themselves swept along in a sinister plot to destroy the beautiful city.
Interestingly enough, I think this was my first-ever foray into the genre of young-adult-fantasy-historical-fiction. There were mermaids and monsters right alongside historical figures (the Butcher Biasio, for one), which made it a great book to read while in Venice — especially since Louvric included two appendices: one explaning what was based on fact and what was altered for the fiction, and one highlighting the locations in the novel that you can still visit in the city today.
I’m not sure how much more perfect this book could have been for this particular reader on this particular trip, but I’d still recommend it heartily to anyone looking for an imaginative and compelling read.