The first in a planned trilogy of fantasy novels for ages 9+, The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham follows the adventures, and misadventures, of Rye O’Chanter, a young misfit girl who finds herself embroiled in mystery and intrigue as she gets involved with The Luck Uglies, a semi-mythical band of outlaws.
Growing up on the outskirts of town ruled with an iron fist with her infant sister and her shopkeeper mother, Rye sneaks out at night on various cheeky adventures. This particular adventure begins with the accidental theft of a banned book, detailing forbidden tales and truths, censored by the town’s ruler, The Earl.
She eventually finds her path entwined with Harmless, a mysterious stranger who belongs to the mysterious band of outlaws known as The Luck Uglies. Together they learn that sometimes you have to rely on the bad guys to save your life.
Aimed at ages 9+, this book does an incredible job of world building, although for my 9 year old it proved a particularly difficult read, especially with it’s slow, rambling (albeit action packed) first act. (This goes some way to explaining why it’s taken so long for me to get round to reviewing the thing ;-))
When Rye finally meets Harmless and begins her adventure with Bog Noblins and the like, the book really kicks into gear, paying homage to European folklore and piling up the world-building and mysteries to be expanded upon in the upcoming follow-up The Fork-Tongued Charmers, due in March 2015.
All in all, I reckon this book is ideal for the younger teen, although the 9+ recommendation could be considered a little young, if only because of pacing issues and my daughter’s low attention span. I certainly would suggest you pick it up if you’re a fan of the later Harry Potter and it’s ilk, and if you like a more fantastic take on the legends of Robin Hood.
You can pick up a copy from Amazon HERE, but obviously you’re gonna want to try and WIN A COPY first.
So, usual competition rules apply, one entry per person, UK only, my decision is final, blah blah blah.
Entry closes on Wednesday 20th August 2014 at 8PM BST (Which incidentally is when I will be starting my commentary on Sharknado 2, so that’s something for you to look forward to).
Right then, multiple choice question time…
What is the name of the main character in The Luck Uglies?