Monday, September 1, 2014

The Twyning by Terence Blacker

This is the story of a boy and a rat.  I was expecting a feel good tale about a boy and his pet.  This tale is about a war, a war between men and rats...

Candlewick Press and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you). This book will be published September 9th so watch for a copy at your local bookstore.

This story is not for the faint-hearted.  It's an honest ugly tale told from the point of view of the abandoned children and the rats.  Rats are used for dog fighting.  When a young homeless boy gets involved with a ratcatcher, he develops the name Dogboy.  Dogboy does what he must to survive, but he doesn't hate the rats.  He thinks they just want to survive, too.

Surprisingly, this tale is mostly about the rats.  They have a sense of honor, a sense of responsibility and they have love, too.  They also have politics until the majority of the population gets wiped out and citizen rule starts to take over.

Dogboy befriends a young girl whose mother sold her to a man for his uses.  She escaped and she was homeless.  She's still homeless, but they have a spot they hide that protects them from the world.  When Dogboy brings her a pet rat back from his travels, she finds she can talk to it.  He thinks she's touched, but he lets it be.  When she disappears and her rat says she and her boyfriend can find the girl, he thinks he's losing his mind!  However, he follows them and saves her from the man who kidnapped her.  His boss helps him.

There's lots of trouble, lots of squabbles and lots of loss on both sides in this story.  The ending redeems the sorrow in the middle.  I can tell you, though, once you read this you won't easily forget it...

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