Riley "Rye" O'Chanter has just come to know about her father. Grey (whom she calls Harmless) is the High Chieftan of the Luck Uglies. She doesn't know him well enough to wonder why he would send a carriage for her on Silvermas. Except that he didn't! It was Slinister Varlet, a Luck Ugly with a plan, sending a message to the High Chieftan.
Harmless rescues Rye and takes her to Grabstone. In a short time, she returns to the Village Drowning, only to see that Earl Longchance and his new lawman, Constable Valant, have burned down her home. Her mother Abby and baby sister Lottie escaped to the Shambles, an area thought to be safe from the Constable's reach. But he is relentless. With the help of a pirate captain, Harmless is able to secure their escape, and that of two of Rye's friends, to Pest, a town on the High Isles.
Abby is not happy. She grew up there but had not returned since her marriage. Her father was furious - and unforgiving - about her choice. For Rye and Lottie, it was a chance to meet their grandfather. The reunion was short-lived, however, as Valant brought three warships to attack Pest. What is it that Valant so desperately wants?
Here is a lot to love about this adventure, starting with Rye. Her authentic voice is strong, yet she thinks and voices her ideas with a 12-year-old's brain. The mystery and suspense are well-paced, and I love how you feel as though you're in an English or Irish fishing town of old. Although fantasy fiction the dynamics of the various family relationships are real. Rye doesn't live with her father and she doesn't know her Uncle Bramble well; she is trying to reconcile her mother's perspective and what others say about them with her own experiences.
While starting with Book 2 of The Luck Uglies trilogy may not have been ideal, I never felt like I was missing key information that kept me from enjoying this book. The story is exceptional, and I've already started Book 3. Next, I will go back and read Book 1. There were a couple of times where Slinister reminded me of Voldemort of Harry Potter fame, but just a few. He is most definitely his own evil self.
Adventure, mystery, and suspense bring readers on-board this fantasy right from the get-go. Rye is a character for all readers!
None for this reader. There are several scenes of battles, so there is violence, but no gore.
This is the second book in a fantasy series with a "medieval" feel to it.
This is a story to be read for the enjoyment of a great adventure. Although most elements of the story would not compare with Harry Potter, Slinister and his backstory might. What makes them alike? What makes them unique?
11 and Up
10 and Up
If you like fantasy adventures, this is a buy. Otherwise, make plans to borrow it at the library. A worthy read.