Review: Blackwells and the Briny Deep

Title: Blackwells and the Briny Deep
Author: Philippa Dowding
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 29, 2018
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Do you hear the distant drums? And what about that weird screaming … It’s BOOK 5 in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong series! 

Emma Blackwell used to love mermaids. Jonah Blackwell used to love pirates. And William Blackwell tried to be a good captain. Which he would be, if he could get his twin brother and sister to stop fighting long enough to sail their boat, the Peregrine, across the bay. But after the Blackwells see a phantom ship, barely survive a terrible storm, and then mysteriously wake up with seaweed in their mouths, everything changes.

They’re becalmed in fog. They run aground on a strange island. They hear distant drums, and their weird adventure begins! The Blackwells face zombie pirates, terrifying mermaids, and a shipwrecked group of cursed ship’s figureheads, including a Roman gladiator and an English knight, all led by the strange dolphin-boy, Finn.

It’ll make a great sea yarn one day, if they can just survive it.


Siblings Emma, Jonah, and William like to sail their boat, the “Peregrine,” around the bay. While sailing one day, they’re caught in a storm and are all knocked out. They wake up with seaweed in their mouths and eventually reach the shore. While on this mysterious island, the three siblings are separated. They each encounter different creatures, including zombie pirates, evil mermaids, and ghostly ship figureheads. They must figure out how to find each other so they can return to their real world.

This was a fun adventure story. At the beginning, Emma, Jonah, and William bickered a lot. Their relationship evolved when they were thrown into danger, so they learned how important they were to one another.

There was a lot of ship lore in this story. The kids knew how to drive their own sailboat. The ghostly figureheads that Emma met on the island were based on true stories of shipwrecks or curses. I’m really curious to learn more about those real stories after reading this one.

Blackwells and the Bring Deep was a great middle grade adventure!

Thank you Dundurn for providing a copy of this book.

Alex and the Other by Philippa Dowding

Carter and the Curious Maze by Philippa Dowding

Other books in the series:

  • Jake and the Giant Hand
  • Myles and the Monster Outside
  • Carter and the Curious Maze
  • Alex and the Other

Have you read Blackwells and the Briny Deep? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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