Red Review: Hyddenworld: Spring by William Horwood (Macmillian)

Title: Hyddenworld: Spring
Author: William Horwood
Pages: 325
Genre: Fantasy
Standalone/Series: Series
Release: 5 Feb 2010
Publisher: Macmillan


William Horwood introduces to the hyddenworld – a place that is veiled from our own. There are crossing over places it seems but the hydden stay hidden from humans but there are occasions where the hydden and human worlds meet and this is the start of one the most important.

It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core of a flawless Sphere made by the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon CraeftLords in memory of the one he loved. Her name was Spring and contained in the very heart of this work is a spark from the Fires of Creation.

But while humans have lost their belief in such things, the Hydden – little people existing on the borders of our world – have not. Breaking the silence of centuries they send one of their own, a young boy, Jack, to live among humans in the hope that he may one day find what has been lost for so long. His journey leads him to Katherine, a girl he rescues from a tragic accident ¬– it’s a meeting that will change everything. It is only through their voyage into the dangerous Hyddenworld that they will realize their destiny, find love and complete the great quest that will save both their worlds from destruction.

Their journey begins with Spring . . .


This is my first red review of the year and they come about so rarely that I foamed this one hard to write. The reason that they are rare is that if I feel this unhappy about a book then I’ll have stopped reading it by now and moved on but I made a promise to review it so here it is.

I struggled with Hyddenworld: Spring from the start which is never a good sign, Part of the problem is the opening, Beornamund’s Prophecy – it sets a mystical and magical tone that is soon lost in minute and uninspiring storytelling of the growing-up of Jack and Katherine.

This may be Horwood’s style and if you are used to it you might find Spring a lot easier to read but I struggled. I’m a reader that gets drawn in by the voice of the narrator and can forgive almost anything if I can feel some emotional connection for the characters and their plight.

I didn’t. The only one that really captured my imagination was Imbolic but that’s because she has some substance and intrigue. I thought that this was going to be a heroic quest in the search for pieces of a pendent.

But it’s more about setting up political internal war for the hydden city of Brum. Jack and his companions though potentially exciting do little cause excitement – it feels very much like writing by numbers. This has to happen so I need to write this. I need these characters here so I’ll have get them to this.

It lacks that passion from the characters themselves. They behave oddly and a lot of how they are thinking or feeling is told directly to the reader instead of coming from their voices and actions.

The reason that this review is late is that I usually get so drawn into a story that everything else is filtered out so I don’t hear anything on TV nor any music that might be in the background. Reading Hyddenworld: Spring I was aware of everything around me and found myself glazing over so often that I had to go back and start again.


I had high hopes for a tale with a strong mythical foundation only to be alienated and bored with almost everything.

I know this sounds harsh and coming form a reviewer who usually has so much to praise it might seem like I’m blowing hot and cold but there are so many problems here that I am struggling to be positive.

I would say that it feels like sandwich which looks good on the outside only to find that filling is so thin that all you end up is eating bread. It could work so much better if it was cut down to 100 pages – it feels like the whole series could be one book.

All I can say is read 20-30 pages if you can and see what you think.