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Reviews for The Grimmelings

Here is what writers and reviewers have been saying about The Grimmelings:

The Grimmelings is a compelling, lovingly-crafted novel about magic, liminal spaces (of several kinds), language and folkloric fusion. Rachael King’s characters live and breathe. Her dialogue glitters quietly. She discovers new perspectives in inherited narratives to create a world that is familiar yet unexpected, tense and eery with flashes of beauty.” – David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks)

The Grimmelings is a brilliant supernatural horse book, weaving Scottish folk horror into its New Zealand landscapes wonderfully. Gripping and moving and wise.” – A.F. Harrold, author of The Worlds We Leave Behind.

The Grimmelings is so true and bold and brave – I absolutely adored it.” – Anna Smaill, Booker-longlisted author of The Chimes.

“The Grimmelings [is] a magical, lyrical novel, rooted in Scottish folklore, with a linguistic palette encompassing te reo Māori, Gàidhlig & Scots. Every inch a novel of Aotearoa & also a game changer for Scottish diaspora writing.” Liam McIlvanney

The Grimmelings succeeds as a fantasy adventure story, with convincing magic and deliciously judged suspense. Beyond this though, it is a book to savour for its storytelling craft, its detailed depiction of family life, and the way it will feed young readers’ ravenous minds with words and ideas.” Courtney Johnston, The Spinoff

“A dynamic new adventure that will reverberate in the reader’s memory… playing with words in the most skilful way, exploring the language of horses, of winds, of landscapes, of relationships.” Ann Packer, New Zealand Listener

“A tense tale of animal companionship, wild magic, and the majesty and awe nature inspires.” Sydney Morning Herald

“An eerie and beautiful contemporary fantasy full of very real characters—humans, horses and a monster—all grounded in warm and abrasive family life, and the daily surprises and hard grind of making a living from working with horses.” – Elizabeth Knox (The Absolute Book, Dreamhunter)

“Rachael King’s The Grimmelings is one of those very rare books that feels like it has always existed, as if the world has been holding space for this story. With wonderfully assured writing, this is Susan Cooper for the next generation. King writes with the utmost respect for her readers, for the story and for language itself. The Grimmelings is a beautifully written story of old magic, uncontainable, unpredictable, wild and true – I could not put it down. And although the phrase is thrown around a lot, this genuinely is a future classic. I cannot wait to recommend it far and wide. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this remarkable story.” – Zana Fraillon (The Bone Sparrow, The Raven’s Song)

“I am hugely impressed by The Grimmelings. Splendidly inventive, expertly controlled, full of passion and compassion, and a narrative I would give four fingernails to have thought of. I read it in two big gulps, walking around in the middle and muttering words of admiration mixed with words of envy.” – David Hill (MNZM for services to children’s literature)

“Malevolence, terror, bravery and sacrifice make [The Grimmelings] a thrilling ride.” Hawkes Bay Today / New Zealand Herald

“I love the book so much: the setting, the characters, the premise, the language, the rhythm, the issues, the mythology, the way the contemporary is holding hands with the past, the denouement. This is a book to devour: it will sizzle and fortify and haunt.” Paula Green, Poetry Box

“Children will revel in the imaginative twists and turns, discover words, and explore vivid worlds that feel both ancient and fresh.” Aotearoa NZ Review of Books

“An atmospheric, well-written, standalone novel where the majesty of New Zealand’s stunningly beautiful landscape leaps off the page.” School Reading List UK

“Rachael King’s writing is so immediate and immersive and beautiful… a magical story for all ages that will keep you reading on well until you’re supposed to be turning out the lights… a masterful writer.” Claire Mabey, Radio New Zealand (starts at 1.53)

“I was gripped until the very end and it left me in tears – which is always the sign of a cracking good book. The writing just sings; it’s evocative and atmospheric with the moodiness of Wuthering Heights. And the horse action is epically good! I completely loved this book! Totally genius.” – Stacy Gregg (The Princess and the Foal)

“A gripping and cleverly crafted book about liminality that is itself liminal: it has one hoof in a realistic horse story and another in magical adventure… The idea powering The Grimmelings is intriguing and unsettling: we leave home and cross oceans but still bring our words, our culture, and our monsters along for the ride to wreak havoc in new places and hold other people hostage.” Kete Books

The Grimmelings is a riveting adventure set on a horse trekking farm in the lakeside wilds of the south island of New Zealand, where lonely 13 year old Ella, the granddaughter of a rumoured witch, finds herself the target of an ancient and vengeful waterhorse. Ella’s courage, grief and grit make her a worthy protagonist the reader cannot help but sympathise with and root for as she fights to save her family from the saddle of her feisty pony, Magpie. Exquisitely crafted and thrumming with old magic, The Grimmelings wraps the reader like an heirloom quilt, stitched with glittering folklore, mysterious family secrets and the love of horses.” – Rachael Craw (Spark trilogy, The Rift)

“This book has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic that will be loved and adored by children and adults alike; it is gripping, expertly crafted, it transcends time, is intensely evocative, fresh and original.” NZ Booklovers

Rachael King’s effortless writing, rich in simile and authentic characters had me enraptured early. Sumptuously and effortlessly written and to read, The Grimmelings is a marvel of mythical creatures, malevolence, family, and feminine courage. I’m already certain this is going to be a favourite of 2024.Adele Broadbent, What Book Next?

“This is a terrific piece of storytelling, where children’s everyday lives are put right at the edge of peril, they are caught cragfast in the blirt, and the terrifying unknown comes knocking. Absolutely, The Grimmelings is going on my bookshelves with my favourite YA classics.” – Cristina Sanders, author of Mrs Jewell and the Wreck of the General Grant

“The layered, luminous new novel from one of our best writers is a testament to the power of children’s literature to cut straight to the heart of what is important: family, community and the stories lurking in our bloodlines, our lands and our histories both close and vast.” The Spinoff 

The Grimmelings is a book I would have devoured and made my entire personality as a young person. It’s the perfect blend of this world and the world that lies just beyond the reaches of our day-to-day lives… King has done a magnificent job of crafting an adventurous, action-packed novel that also has a whole lot of heart.” Cassie Hart, The Sapling

“If I had this book when I was 12, my child-self’s reading heart would have been changed in the same way as it was by Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series and Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby series. Like those books, this novel expands the imagination. Today’s young people are here gifted with an exceptional way of seeing story, words, and the world. The Grimmelings is set to become an all-time favourite for adults and children alike and, for me, now one of my favourite stories.” – Tania Roxborogh, Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea

 “The best book I’ve read this year. Rachael has delivered a story that transcends time and place, playing with old words and mythical creatures in a stunningly original way. I loved it.” – Bren MacDibble (Across the Risen Sea, The Raven’s Song)