Book 1 of the Waterwight Series

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
347 Pages
Reviewed on 04/03/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Hi! I'm Laurel McHargue, a 1983 graduate of The United States Military Academy at West Point. I was raised in Braintree, Massachusetts, but somehow found my way to the breathtaking elevation of Leadville, Colorado, where I have taught and currently live with my husband and Ranger, the German Shepherd.

I established Leadville Literary League, a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote local literary endeavors and the arts, and I host a weekly podcast called 'Alligator Preserves' about storytelling and the human condition. My goal is to author as many books as possible in genres of every type (you can check out what I have already on Amazon), and I also like acting.

The Waterwight series was inspired by a crazy, technicolor dream I had one night a few years ago, and I continue to get inspiration from the people and places I meet and visit as I write.

Visit me in Leadville and/or check out my blog where I write about life, real and imagined: www.leadvillelaurel.com! Thanks for visiting!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Waterwight by Laurel McHargue is the first book in the Waterwight Series. The Event left Celeste and several other children orphaned. Celeste has spent the last few years in a children's home where no one will tell her what really happened. After her dreams become worse, she decides to take it upon herself to find the answers and runs away. She discovers she can talk to animals when a group of cats leads her to an abandoned house, only to be chased by wild dogs who become her protectors and take her to a mountain that tells her to search for a key with the power to save everyone from a deadly ooze. In her search, she meets a mysterious flying frog named Orville, who takes it upon himself to be her guardian, and stumbles across a village of children who have developed extraordinary abilities. To save her new friends she must find the key and stop the sinister plans of a devious Shifter.

Laurel McHargue delivers a unique and clever read with unexpected characters and an emotional journey. Most of the characters are children who are on their own and have to explore their newfound abilities in order to understand this new reality. Celeste is a brave and amazing character with a strong voice, who explores a compelling journey of courage and trust as it's up to her to decide how to save the world. The other children are equally riveting characters that capture the heart and add several emotional layers to the story. Among these children are Bridger, a five-year-boy who can make a boat, Nick who can stop time, and Chimney who can disappear at will. McHargue handles a large cast of characters with ease, capturing the personality of each while also balancing out how their abilities factor into the story and how they react to the changes happening around them. The other characters are the talking animals who guide Celeste along her way. They have a well developed blend of personified voice and animal nature. Ranger, Thunder, Eenie, and Oliver each play a significant role in Celeste's journey, assuming the roles of protector and guide, friend and confidant to her. Ranger and Eenie are among the ones that first spark her journey by pulling her into this other world and introducing her to her new abilities. Oliver is her strongest ally, and one of the most unique characters as he's a frog that can fly.

Each animal gives a fun flair to the story that's reminiscent of the absurdity of Alice in Wonderland, but their personalities keep them grounded in the story and their emotional ranges make them as well-developed as the human characters. McHargue includes several fun bizarre elements like ooze, flying frogs, earthquakes, and extraordinary powers, but everything fits into this world and is tempered by Celeste's calming presence, which keeps everything from feeling like it's too much. Waterwight is a brilliant and clever story of hope and bravery as one girl's journey as a hero can save the fate of the world.

Scott Cahan

Waterwight by Laurel McHargue is a fantasy adventure tale that could be enjoyed by readers of all ages, but I believe it is intended mostly for younger readers. It reminded me of other classics like A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Those stories, like Waterwight, have a strong evil force that can only be defeated by the good and pure at heart, along with a little magic for good measure. The heroine in Waterwight is a teenage girl named Celeste. She lives in a world that has recently become a hard and desolate place, due to some unexplained event. The forces of good have chosen Celeste to confront the evil and, hopefully, rescue the few humans who are still alive. The story that follows is full of action and adventure. Along the way, Celeste is aided by a strong cast of magical creatures. Together, she and her new friends take on the evil forces in a tale that is very imaginative and fun.

I enjoyed reading Waterwight, mostly because author Laurel McHargue’s imagination seemed endless. The plot included many twists and turns that I never expected but found delightful. I also enjoyed Ms. McHargue’s ability to create such a strong cast of colorful characters. They each had a distinct personality as well as their own unique superpower. My only issue with Waterwight was that there were mysterious forces in the book that were never explained. This is a minor problem that did not affect my enjoyment of the book while I was reading it. It was only afterwards as I reflected back. However, this is a book that I would heartily recommend to young readers. It has a strong lesson about good versus evil, great characters, and a story that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat.

Kim Anisi

Waterwight by Laurel McHargue is Book 1 of the Waterwight Series and tells the story of Celeste, a girl who lost her family during an event that left many parts of the world in ruins and uninhabitable. Stinking, oozing water is spreading over the planet and nobody seems to know why. Celeste doesn't want to stay in the orphanage any longer and flees. She wants to find answers, but only runs into more and more questions. She learns that she has a special gift: she can talk to animals! That turns out to be a handy skill when she comes across some cats and dogs. But soon, she discovers that this is not her only new skill. She meets Orville, a flying - and, of course, talking - giant frog, and together they find their way to a small village which is ruled by an old woman, who basically gives her commands to a girl called Blanche. The people in the village live in fear, and when Celeste turns up, she needs to give them a reason to be allowed to stay. For some reason, answers to her questions might be found here, but of course, danger is close by and a shape-shifter who is after Celeste's life has not lost track of her.

While Waterwight by Laurel McHargue is aimed at teenagers and young adults, it can be enjoyed by all lovers of the fantasy genre, as fantasy usually doesn't have an age limit. The pages are full of interesting characters: from a flying frog to cute kittens and colorful tigers, from an old hag who has something to hide to a boy who can disappear at will, and a boy who can literally see under other people's skins. There are many characters, but you won't have any issues keeping them apart as they are all unique and well written. Celeste herself is a brave teenage girl who needs to rise to rather unusual challenges. A lot is happening, and it's nothing like problem A appears, then is solved, problem B appears, and is solved. Often Celeste has to deal with two or three problems at the same time, which can make it challenging for her to make the right decision. The story is not straightforward and, like people in real life, the heroine sometimes feels quite overwhelmed. She is someone people will be able to relate to. I definitely enjoyed reading about her adventures and hope that book 2 will be just as gripping!