Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twilight Robbery

by Frances Hardinge

Grade: To Own
Story: Conmen! Kiddnappings! Plots! Murderous geese!
Sequel to Fly by Night.

Review: Hardinge is one of the few living authors (added to the ranks of Megan Whalen Turner, and until lately Diana Wynne Jones) whose books I will buy without reading a single review or looking up any details of the book whatsoever. I have NEVER known her to write a book that I didn't love almost unreservedly, and this was no exception.

It had the best kind of plot twists: a combination of totally surprising but perfectly suited twists, and twists that I'd guess at the beginning but somehow forget about completely due to the complexities of the plot.

It had the best kind of characters: a plump middle-aged conman with a taste for long words; a strong-willed, black-eyed young ragamuffin with a tendency to change the fate of cities (described once as "This shivering, clench-jawed scarp of damp doggedness"); a goose who frightens even the most hardened of soldiers; plus a plethora of most excellent secondary characters.

It had the best kind of setting: a world of strange names and divided towns and evil locksmiths, of midnight pawn-brokers meetings, strange clawed girls, and invisible musicians.

Plus, in the words of the esteemed author herself:
"[I]t is an adventure story, a sort of crime thriller, with lots of lies, spies, double-crosses, triple-crosses, secret passages, and at least one chase through moonlit streets by lots of people disguised as skeletal horses."
(Taken from this interview:


Practicing Mammal said...

oooh. Thanks for the link AND do you think boys would like it between the ages of 9 and 14??

RED said...

Yes. It's great fun. It is a sequel though, as I mentioned at the top. I remember that the first book, Fly By Night, was excellent as well, but had a bit of bad philosophy in it, I think. It wasn't horrible or anything, but there were certainly a couple of weird ideas.

However, I don't think it's necessary to read the first book before reading this book. This book is great. The only issue one might have with it is the fictional religion held by the people in both books.