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Ratpaths (Tales of Istonnia Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I think the only way Nivvo could be described is as a cheeky rascal. He’s just that sort of lovable scamp, who might have a somewhat dark side to him but for the most part is honest in his own way.
The city is living under the thumb of a tyrant who had Nivvo’s father killed when he was but a child, and sent him to the streets. The only reason he is alive is that the lord of the underworld took a liking to him...
The story comes to a satisfying end, yet there is obviously more to come.
Ratpaths is a magic-free young adult fantasy story about loyalty, freedom and dynasty.
Nivvo, a young thief, discovers the long dead heir to the throne is actually alive and needs rescuing from some sea-fairing kidnappers. The narration moves between Nivvo's quest to save and reinstate the heir, and the story of his own early life.
Nivvo frees Vilores from his captors and leads him to a fragile kind of safety. He uses his skills learnt as a pickpocket to guide him through the city's twisting, hidden ratpaths, but it's the unravelling of Nivvo's own dark story that provides the surprises in the plot.
It's obvious that the author likes her characters, particularly Nivvo. He's definitely "One spark short of a bonfire." He's fun and unpredictable to read, but it's hard to tell if he's brave or a bit mad. It'd sometimes be easier to understand him if this were clearer. The other characters, from the Fagan-like mafia boss Cambrosi to sweet and capable little sister Reka are well-developed.
The themes might be traditional but the setting is unusual, and much of it is imagined and constructed skilfully. Although the story is largely not supernatural, ghosts and the dead appear frequently in characters' thoughts and dialogue. This, for me, is one of the most successful aspects of the book. The existence of Nivvo's wider world is convincingly created by characters' references to their beliefs and superstitions. A whole culture is economically brought into being in their dialogue, as they continually express their disbelief with phrases like, "I'll be buried" or insult each other as "ghostless fools.Read more ›
I don't often enjoy historical fiction but I just couldn't put this book down. The story was told brilliantly, with well defined characters and believable plot twists. This definitely isn't your typical fantasy tale. It has a gritty realism to it and some violent things happened, yet it never quite falls into the dark fantasy category and it would be suitable for young adult readers. The characters stories have their heart-breaking moments and there is a lot of dark material in there but there's also a very good sense of humour.
I liked all the references to fire in the character's dialog exchanges, it made for unusual and interesting conversations! The setting felt totally unique and the world Rusk has created felt solidly built and real. I sympathised easily with Nivvo, he was an excellent character and I can't wait to see what's next for him.
A brilliant debut novel I would recommend to just about everyone. I'll admit the cover put me off to begin with, but Ratpaths is truly a well-woven story with a unique setting and fantastic characters. It's not YA but would be suitable for older teenagers as well as adults. Highly recommended!
It is written beautifully and really conjures the images of the places and scenery in the readers mind. I felt I was there and now I remember the story as if I'd seen a film. This is a credit to the author, as she has the balance of everything perfect.
Although I got to the end of the story and was satisfied with the conclusion, I sense there is more to come. This would make a great series and I hope another book will be out soon.
A reader captivating, clever storyline.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a many layered and exciting story, with likeable characters and a subtle and original plot. Brilliant. I've just bought part two!Published on 19 May 2014 by Suchea
A multi layered story, of losing everything, growing up under oppression and finding strange ways to find hope in an ancient city amidst a fantasy landscape, but with out magic or... Read morePublished on 18 April 2014 by casounds
I picked this up and begrudged every minute I couldn't be with it! The characters grow and develop with the story bringing surprises with every turn of the page. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2014 by Patricia Walker
I saved this book for a very long flight, one of the best decisions I've made with books in a long time. It will need your full attention but it deserves it. Read morePublished on 5 Mar. 2014 by Mr. Ja Lovell
I read the first three chapters some weeks ago and stopped until I purchaed the full book. That has never happened to me before. Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2013 by NORMAN MORROW
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