Monday, June 2, 2014
MMGM: The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Luck Uglies is the first in a tween fantasy-adventure trilogy brimming with legends come to life, a charming wit, and a fantastic cast of characters-and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling.
Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O'Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned.
Now Rye's only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can't be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she'll discover the truth behind the village's legends of outlaws and beasts...and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.
The first in a series, The Luck Uglies is an altogether irresistible cross of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar, and Chris Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.
Another great fantasy series for middle grade readers, The Luck Uglies starts with a bang as Rye, the main character debates the risks of jumping from roof to roof only to be frightened into it by a moving gargoyle. Rye is an appealing main character with appropriate strengths and weaknesses. I especially appreciated how she's not an athlete, in fact she's a bit clumsy, especially on rooftops. Rye's strength is her determination to help those she cares about. But she makes her share of mistakes, such as sneaking out on the Black Moon which leads to an encounter with a supposedly extinct Bog Noblin.
As Rye struggles to understand the numerous rumors about Bog Noblins and the Luck Uglies who fought them in the past, she discovers that family secrets play a much larger role in the whole mess than she could have ever imagined.
I liked the fact that Rye has a great mother who supports and protects her, despite keeping some rather important secrets. So many books of this type revolve around orphans that its rather refreshing to read one where the whole family is important. Yet Rye makes her own choices both good and bad in facing the possible destruction of everything she knows with a variety of consequences.
A great new series for middle grade readers who love fantasy such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Rye is a heroine that you can't help but root for. I also really appreciated the fact that the book has a solid ending. While it's the first book in a trilogy, the ending is satisfying. I get so tired of fantasy series where the individual books don't end, they just stop. That isn't a problem here. A wonderful new book that I really enjoyed reading and can heartily recommend.