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Home > Categories > Books > Fiction > The River review

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Score: 7.3/10  [2 reviews]
3 out of 5
ProdID: 8229 - The River
Written by Peter Heller

The River
Sample/s Supplied by:
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Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been supplied to KIWIreviews by Hachette or their agents for the purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
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The River product reviews

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of literature and the great outdoors.

When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience.
No phones.
No fellow travellers.
No way of going back.

But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their idyllic expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature's destructive power becomes entangled with a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

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adventure   fire   kayak   peter heller   survival   the river   wildfire
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Click here to read the profile of shellcruise

Review by: shellcruise (Shelley)
Dated: 2nd of April, 2019

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This Review: 7.0/10
Value for Money:
Score 8 out of 10
Level of Realism:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 5 out of 10
Lose Track of Time:
Score 6 out of 10

To me the best kind of books are the ones you can not put down and are constantly thinking about it. To start with The River had me hooked and I was sneaking away to read one more chapter or least a couple of pages at a time, but then the pace changed and the book slowed down and I found I put it down for four days and did not think about it at all. We went away on holiday and my soul purpose on the trip was to finish this book and I found I was making excuses as to why not to read.... its not a bad book it just is a little word heavy.

The idea was there but the writer seems to have diverted from the main story. I wanted river vrs fire with all the in goings but instead I found it was more about relationships and saving a woman from her husband. It became more about people then the nature. It did touch on the animals and there great escape swimming across the stream as the fire was coming for them but then it turned again and went back to saving one person.

I also found the book to be huge on describing the scene and over does it to the point I get lost in the whole translation. There is a paragraph which is vividly detailing the river and the rapids and its quite poetic in all the words but during this paragraph the boat actually gets tipped, now I reread that paragraph three times and for the life of me I can not figure out when it actually happened because the writer was to busy discussing the sounds and the scenery and next minute they were swimming for the boat.

The other issue I have are the two main characters are not much on the talking and when they do it is quick responses so I did not feel like I bonded with either. I wanted them to be more open and discuss things but it was mainly a one sided relationship. Then thru in the complications of the other people in the River and I became rather numb as to the fate of everyone. However, in saying that I was shocked as to what happened in the end and it was not the ending I had desired.

Where as The River has the potential to be a great book I just don't think it lived up to my expectations. It is a readable book but not one I would read again. If you like nature and the great outdoors then this book could be the one for you but at the end of the day it is about two men saving one lady and the fire is not what anyone seems to be focused on. I did get lost on a lot of the river terms and when visualising the scenes I did have issues in a couple of places but then not enough to loose sleep over.

Click here to read the profile of alexmoulton

Review by: alexmoulton (Alex)
Dated: 25th of March, 2019

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This Review: 7.5/10
Value for Money:
Score 7 out of 10
Level of Realism:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Lose Track of Time:
Score 6 out of 10

Reading the synopsis, I was expecting quite a high-pace adrenaline pumping book that would be hard to put down. Such is not the case. I'm certainly not saying that this is a bad book; as it certainly manages to throw twists at you and catches you off-guard at several points, but the overall pace of the storyline is much more understated.

It follows the two protagonists. Best friends for a very long time, from different ways of life, but connected through their love of the various realms of nature and literature. One an optimist, the other a realist and pessimist. One has his head in the clouds, while the other is at peace with his feet firmly plunged in the moving waters. One has a full and happy family, while the other has suffered a tragic loss. There is a certain bipartisan relationship between these two characters that creates conflict, but also provides a wide scope of skills that allows them to overcome many obstacles.

Where the synopsis of the book is not quite so accurate is in its portrayal of the wildfire. The fire is there but it is not exactly at the forefront of the dangers involved in this adventure. It is there but is not the driving force. It determines their direction, but not the pace of the story, which always seems to treat the fire like a non-threat. I saw this because of a couple of factors. Mainly, the characters themselves that reduce the legitimacy of the threat through their own actions, but also through the authors very descriptive nature of storytelling.

There are some beautifully descriptive scenes that encapsulate the colour and movement of the trees, to scents and scampering or animals, to the taste of ash and soot in the air. The level of description used was such a high level of detail that for the character to truly have experienced it, they would have had to stand there silently for an extended period of time to take it all in. While it creates some beautiful visuals, it again leads the reader to think that there is a lot of time spent staring at nature, and not much time spent worrying about the threat.

So much description slows down the narrative quite considerably and reduces a lot of the tension and suspense. As a result, this is a book that you can quite easily put down and come back to another time. That necessary sense of urgency just isn't there. But it is also a very easy book to read (despite a lot of terminologies that the reader may not instantly be aware of unless they know their fauna and flora well) and I managed to plough through it in about 4-5 hours. So it's a nice mid-length book.

I certainly enjoyed The River, and it was well written with some great twists towards the end, but I was still left expecting more, after reading the synopsis, which didn't match the tone in my mind.

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