The Blackwater Series - Michael McDowell


⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Pros: incredible story, southern setting, loveable characters and lots of twists and mysteries that you just can't get enough of

Cons: could've been one long book? Racism is always a bummer.








This series came at the recommendation of Hannah and MAN, I loved every second of this story. She selected it as one of her February picks. As usual, I went in blind, knowing nothing about the author or the story and I feel like that only added to my love for this series. Every page turned was a bigger mystery.


When it comes to series, typically I am 1 of 3 ways:

I either hate the first book so much that I refuse to finish the series. OR I hate the first book and force myself to hate read the rest.

OR I love the first book and speed read the rest.


The Blackwater series was the latter for me. I loved the first book so much- the atmosphere, the characters, the unfolding darkness- and each subsequent book just made me more excited to continue the story.

The entire series gets a 5 star rating from me. I won't be getting too terribly deep into the books because, opposite of the shorter reads, this series has SO much to cover that I can't possibly do it all justice in a 6 for 1 style blog. I want to discuss the overall premise and the things I loved about it though so let's go!


 

THE PLOT, THE CHARACTERS, THE WRITING

In the aftermath of a big flood in Perdido, Alabama in the 1900's, two men venture out into the flooded wreckage to look for survivors. They pull their boat into a mostly submerged hotel and find a lady, Elinor, sitting alone in a room, surrounded by water. She had been there for 4 days, just waiting for someone to save her. They were weary about her, but decided to bring her back to town anyway, they couldn't just leave her, right? This story stretches over 6 books and 3 generations of Elinor and the Caskey family who were the first to settle in Perdido. Elinor decides to marries Oscar Caskey, successfully infiltrating the first family of Perdido, and none of their lives are ever the same.

The timeline alone is wild to me, I am usually not great at keeping up with so many characters, names, occurrences, passing time, like this. It is a big reason why I cannot do high fantasy book; the world building, characters, events, etc. are all way too much for me to handle. This was low fantasy though and dark. The writing was so great, the setting so familiar and the story, so inviting, that the entire time I was reading, I didn't feel like I was studying the story... I felt like I was in the story. This is not an easy thing to do so I want to say again, I am highly in love with this series.



 

I have no idea how to do a review for 6 books in 1; luckily, I wrote goodreads reviews in real time but for this post, I will simply be highlighting a few of the moments in the series that stuck with me & discussing them.


THIS IS YOUR SPOILER WARNING; CLICK HERE TO SKIP

ALSO, TW: DEATH, VIOLENCE, RAPE


  • When I was halfway into the first book, I remember asking Hannah about Elinor. It is never stated outright what she is- alien, siren, witch, shapeshifter, mermaid. I still don't really know. There is always a chance that I skimmed over the one sentence that did shed some light on the subject, but I digress.

  • Elinor is an enigma for me throughout the entire series. She kills people, sometimes even people close to her, but then she also kills bad people. She is clearly killing people but she also is providing for and growing her family. She is determined and headstrong when it comes to her loved ones but then, she just gives up her first daughter, Miriam, to her mother-in-law. That in particular had me very confused; how could you just give up your first born daughter like that? I went back and forth on Elinor so many times I got vertigo and I still don't know how I feel about her!

  • I think my favorite character was Miriam. Her entire story, growth and personality... yes, Miriam forever.

  • I was SHOOK at how graphic the death scenes were. The novels are, as I said earlier, slow but intense. The situation would build in suspense and I was fully expecting them to be glossed over, but they were not. Oscar's death scene was particularly vicious and he didn't deserve that.

  • Speaking of folks who didn't deserve what happened to them... Queenie's story broke my heart.

  • Can we talk about how Grace and Lucille gave up on men and got an LGBTQ+ style happily ever after at Gavin Pond? Iconic

  • I still don't fully understand when the jewels that were buried with Elvin-nia started coming through the ceiling. This was a moment in the book where I was like... ok, Elinor is a witch.

  • Francis was another frustrating character for the same reason her mother, Elinor was. They are essentially monsters, both of them. So why was I so bothered when they did monstrous things? When Francis left to go live in the water, I felt like that was the right choice for her but Elinor stayed behind?

  • Speaking of Francis and the water, I really liked Miriam and Francis's relationship when they spent days at the beach. It was sweet.

  • Francis's first murder was one I rooted for. Rest in pieces, Travis Gann.


 



Ok, you've reached the safe zone.


Again, I really liked this series so much, I plan to read it again, maybe on audiobook so my husband can listen. All of the darkness, the jarring moments, the death were somehow understated and highly emotional at the same time. I liked that there weren't cheap scares just for the sake of shaking things up. I feel like they would have cheapened the books and all the work that had been done to lay out the storylines. The characters had so much depth and layers to them that I felt like I personally knew each of them by the end of the series. I recommend this book to anyone who likes horror, low fantasy and stories set in the south.



 


Also, please enjoy my GoodReads reviews on the series, in order and in real time. Please follow me on GoodReads while you're there!

The Flood | The Levee | The House | The War | The Fortune | Rain




HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?


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