Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Other Side of the Whale Road by K.A. Hayton, and I am excited to be sharing my review with you all.
How dark were the Dark Ages? Joss is about to find out…
‘The Vikings are better armed than we are. They have long, heavy axes that can take a man’s head from his shoulder. I know this because I see it happen.’
When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.
The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?
And will he ever get home?
I was so excited when Dave announced the tour for The Other Side of the Whale Road, because although it isn’t my usual style, the blurb sounded so promising, and I also had a personal interest in the story, as I am from Suffolk myself. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to exceed my expectations quite so much.
Joss has had a difficult start in life, caring for his twin sisters and basically being in charge of the house, while his mother’s behaviour continues to be exceedingly difficult to manage. But when his mum burns down their house, this is really the turning point and a potential new start for Joss. Rural Suffolk can be an incredibly beautiful place, with its quiet villages, and endless countryside, the perfect place for a kid like Joss to start fresh. There are some villages in Suffolk where it feels like you have stepped back in time, and Hoxne, and Cressida and Tim immediately gave off those vibes.
For me, time travel is very hit and miss as to whether I enjoy it or not. I guess it depends on how it is written, and where they travel back to. With The Other Side of the Whale Road, I loved it! I find the Anglo-Saxon period rather fascinating (maybe that’s the inner Suffolk girl coming out of me), and it was really interesting to hear the history of my home in such a fun and exciting way. I feel like Joss felt exactly the same way. Although he wasn’t that interested in Anglo-Saxon history before the time travel, I felt that once he was there, he was so excited about the history of where he lives, and the way people survived back then.
Life in the Anglo-Saxon village of Haegelisdun couldn’t be more different than life today, and to begin with, Joss seemed to struggle with settling in to his unexpected change of life. But, after making a few friends, he seemed to enjoy this life more than his regular one. What Joss knew, but the rest of the village didn’t, was that danger and death are waiting just around the corner, and he is desperate to give his new friends the upper hand. He is desperate to help, even if it means that he is re-writing history.
Joss is such an incredible character. To begin with, he comes across as a bit of a bad kid, but given everything that he has been through/is still going through, it is hardly surprising that his behaviour isn’t the best. It soon comes to light that actually, he’s not a bad kid at all! Joss is brave, kind, caring, and all round good hearted. He will do anything to help those he loves, regardless of the costs. This becomes more apparent as the story goes on. I actually think we could all learn a lot from Joss.
The book is wrapped up in a perfect way, and like the entire book, it is very well written. This is K.A. Hayton’s debut novel, and I am excited to see what else she has in store for us in the future (maybe even some more Anglo-Saxon or Viking time travel? please?). This book is exciting, full of history, and I could have easily devoured it in one sitting. My only wish is that the book had been longer, because I really didn’t want it to end!
I give The Other Side of the Whale Road a 4.5 star rating!
About The Author:
K.A. Hayton was born in Lincolnshire and read English at Sheffield University. She lives in Suffolk with her husband and has two daughters. The idea for The Other Side of the Whale Road came from her study of old English poetry at university, and from living in a place where Anglo-Saxon history feels very close.
Disclaimer: My posts often include affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission for any purchase made through my links, but with no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my blog.