Sunday, February 19, 2023

REVIEW: Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell!

Hey everyone! Today I've got a review for a sci-fi/fantasy novel with a great old-style twist. Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell is chilling, attention-grabbing, and a fast read. Check out my review below!



Winner -- Gold Medal Moonbeam Awards
Finalist for Prix Aurora Award & McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award
A CCBC Best Books for Teens selection

From the back cover:
Forced to move every twelve days, what would happen to your life? It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man?
Time ticks. Lives change. Every twelve days.



Craig Russell’s fantasy novel, Black Bottle Man won the Moonbeam gold medal for YA fantasy and was a Canadian Aurora Award finalist. His SF climate crisis novel, Fragment was selected for the Yale University Climate Connections reading list and was shortlisted for the Michael Van Rooy Award. Craig a retired lawyer living in Winnipeg, Canada.


This book is a fantastic fantasy that bridges Old West and literary genres. It’s a great, thought-provoking story, with engaging prose that I absolutely loved. While it took me a little bit to get into the groove of reading it — I loved the beginning but found a few chapters hard to follow — I ended up reading the majority of the book in one sitting. While my eyes will never recover from that, it’s a story that you’ll want to mull over long after you’ve closed the cover. 4.5/5 stars!


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