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Dark Waters: 09/06/21
Dark Waters by Katherine Arden is the third book in the Small Spaces series. Coco, Ollie, and Brian are still recovering from their previous two encounters with the Smiling Man. Now their parents want to take them a cruise to search for Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain.
Before the cruise the children have already received a warning — a promise — from the Smiling Man. So it's no surprise when things go horribly wrong and they end up stranded on an island that shouldn't exist and is invisible to everyone else on the lake.
Katherine Arden reimagines Champ to be a terrifying, ever present, snake creature. Imagine something like freshwater eel and a boa constrictor. Arden's version is nightmare fuel.
One interesting change to the series is the addition of a fourth member to the children. The bully from the first book works on the boat that takes them to the island. The conceit up to this point has been that only the children who avoided being turned into scarecrows remembered the events of those days on the farm. Turns out, that's not true.
Like the previous two books, this adventure can be mapped onto the Road Narrative Spectrum. In the previous books, the children working separately from the adults, were marginalized travelers. This time, though, they are with their parents, collectively making them a family of travelers (33). This time their destination is a literal utopia or no-place (FF), being a nonexistent island. Their route there is like the first book, the cornfield (FF), this time, though represented by the tkaronto.
There's a fourth book in the works.