This is the second part of my Monkey Arkwright blog tour report. In part 1, I analysed the reasons for taking part in a blog tour, how I selected a tour host and what happened before and during the tour. You can read part 1 of my report here.
In this part, I will be taking a look at what the reviewers said about Monkey Arkwright; reviewing the reviews, so to speak.
It may seem an obvious goal, but the two areas where I want my writing to shine is in the execution of the plot and bringing the characters to life. So, it was immensely satisfying for me to see that these two themes cropped up constantly across the reviews. Let’s start the review of reviews by seeing what Jasmine, from Jazzy Book Reviews, said:-
Monkey Arkwright is one of those books where you’re not sure what to expect, but once you start, you find yourself falling down a rabbit hole filled with mystery, intrigue, and some strangely fascinating supernatural elements. I rather enjoyed this book, and I now can’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series.
That’s a great start. Funnily enough, the analogy of a rabbit hole also cropped up in the review on Trails of Tales:-
The action-adventure in this book has been shaped with the essence of a treasure hunt which makes it more exciting to follow Monkey and Lorna down their rabbit hole.
It seems that Jessica Belmont was equally gripped:-
The mystery is well-developed. I fell right into the story and didn’t want to leave. Rob Campbell is a fantastic writer who is able to suck his readers in and keep them in.
It seemed that the plot was good enough to drag the readers in. But so much for the plot, what about the characters? It doesn’t matter how well a story is plotted, if the landscape is populated with two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, the book is going to fall flat. But it seemed that my characters were doing well in the reviews too. Writing on Jazzy Book Reviews, Jasmine said:-
I also really liked Frank. Even with his past, he was a great guy, and he seemed like he genuinely cared for both Lorna and Monkey. George (aka Goofy) and his gang were just plain awful. I disliked all of them very much.
If I’ve got readers liking the good guys and disliking the bad guys then I must be doing something right as a writer. Meanwhile, when analysing the environment in which Lorna and Monkey find themselves, ReasReads made an interesting observation:-
I say again, I do not trust these adults and it meant that I was doubting everything they told Lorna and Monkey about Gooch (the ‘bad’ guy).
I also enjoyed the fact that Jane Hunt Writer had this to say about my cast:-
The characters in this book are complex and quirky, adding to their appeal.
The work that I put into the emotional side of Lorna’s journey isn’t lost on readers either. Leelynn (SometimesLeelynnReads) said:-
This book was interesting for a YA mystery novel. Nothing to take lightly, since one of the book’s main characters has to learn how to deal with the grief that comes with a parent of dying of cancer .…. But yeah, that part broke my heart from the beginning I will have to say, and stuck with me while I was reading this novel.
Reading through the reviews, I also enjoyed seeing some of the reviewers explain why it was that they think that my story worked. ReasReads stated that:-
The reason this story works is because the whole way through the book I was second guessing what was going on and what side were the good/bad guys.
Writing on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog, Cheryl noted that:-
It’s interesting how Campbell lets the reader wonder and debate the validity of the premise along with the characters. Is it luck or bad luck?
An element that isn’t specifically about the plot or the characters is atmosphere. Whether it’s spooky, creeping with dread, nostalgic or displaying the hallmarks of some specific genre, it’s nice to find that you are conjuring some imagery in the mind of the reader. In this respect, it was pleasing to read the following from Mai on Mai’s Musings:-
There was something about the writing style of this book, and the story itself, that put me in mind of the old black and white film noir genre.
Whilst Cheryl on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog wrote that:-
It has the strange appealing kind of charm associated with stories of such ilk as Stand by Me, perhaps because it has an aura of nostalgia, especially at the beginning of the book.
Returning to the plot, how did the reviewers feel about the way the various plot strands were resolved? Fellow writer Jane Hunt felt that:-
The plot is detailed and fits together nicely, it is layered without appearing convoluted and is resolved well.
Writing on Radzy Writes and Reviews, Radzy said:-
I was gripped, and remained on the edge of my seat until things began wrapping up into a satisfying, well executed ending.
But I didn’t write this as a standalone book, it’s part of a trilogy, so I was pleased to see some comments like the following from Cheryl on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog:-
I think this has the potential to be a really good series, especially the combination of Monkey and Lorna, their friendship, the secret societies battling against each other to acquire the strange powerful objects.
Jane Hunt seems of a similar mind, describing Monkey Arkwright as:-
An engaging, original mystery with wonderfully individual characters and interesting potential for further stories.
Now a short section that is basically an excuse to list some enormously pleasing comments from the various reviewers:-
For a first-person novel, this is effortless, and gives a wonderful sense of realism. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Campbell knows what he’s doing, and has presented us with a story that will be loved by readers of all ages.
– Radzy Writes and Reviews
The plot is nicely paced, and there’s enough mystery to keep even the savviest readers guessing as they flip through the pages.
– Jazzy Book Reviews
Monkey Arkwright is a fun mystery featuring two quirky characters that had me entertained from beginning to end. I absolutely loved the characters.
– Jessica Belmont
I’m going to finish off with a comment from Mai on Mai’s Musings:-
Although the book does take a slightly darker turn from around the halfway point ….. it somehow retains a feel of innocence and the old school adventure stories I grew up with. I think as the series progresses it has the potential to develop into something more sinister.
Well, hold that thought Mai, because things do get decidedly darker and more sinister in the second book, Black Hearts Rising.
Thanks once again to all the bloggers who were kind enough to review Monkey Arkwright. There are links to the full reviews on my Reviews tab.