Oh My! I can be such a dunderhead at times. I really can!
Not for the first time have I found myself reading a sequel
to a book I had no idea existed. 'Twilight Robbery', a
substantial tome by one Frances Hardinge (If such she really be!)
is a sequel to another novel entitled 'Fly By Night', which I
am now bound to rush out and purchase to catch-up with that which
I had already unwittingly missed. If you see what I mean!
'Twilight Robbery' is a terrific read! The characters, particularly
that of the ragged heroine Mosca Mye, virtually jump out of the
pages fully formed of blood and hair and bone, such is the wonderfully
vivid quality of Ms Hardinge's language. Reading it out loud to the
cubs (Scatty and Gritz) I kept having to stop to savour a line here
or a phrase there and to repeat it so I could hear the words ring out
again in the night air. This is a story to experience by candlelight,
with a fire glowing in the hearth and a full moon peeping through
the windowpane. There is more than a little magic at work between
these pages! It is a big book but the labyrinthine plot never wavers.
The narrative is populated by some distinctly colourful and unsavoury
denizens, not least among them Ms Mye's friend, the scoundrel,
Eponymous Clent (Ms Hardinge certainly has a way with names!) and
a savage whirlwind of a goose named Saracen. Their adventures in the
town of Toll, where all is not well by a long chalk, keeps us absorbed
until the final page and the emotion it generates lingers for a long
time afterwards. Mosca Mye, despite her flaws, is a hugely sensitive
and strong moral being. It is impossible not to be on her side!
'Twilight Robbery' is an enchanting, whimsical, absorbing and
unputdownable novel. Read it if only for the wonder of the words!
Mosca Mye is back, with her warlike goose, Saracen, and still in the dubious company of the word-spinning, truth-twisting Eponymous Clent. After their revolutionary adventures in Mandelion, life's difficulties are catching up to them, but in order to escape across the river, where their names will not be known, they must first travel through Toll, an unassuming town in control of a vital bridge.
While Mosca and Clent worry about paying to enter the place, little do they realise their troubles are only just beginning. A town divided, there are deadly secrets in Toll, and not all wait to come out at night.
Filled with the rich details, absurd situations and dastardly plots that made Fly By Night such an excellent read, Twilight Robbery takes no prisoners as it romps along at top speed. It's faster, even more descriptive and less reliant on happenstance than the first book. Mosca is as angry as ever, filled with all sorts of cunning, yet not without compassion or reason. Clent too is much the same, yet curiously reluctant to lose his young friend's company. Surprising as the things these two achieve, the biggest surprise is that they don't do even more!
I love this world, with its numerous little gods - Goodmen and Goodladies - and the naming traditions, which are so vitally important in bonkers Toll. Then there are the Guilds, especially the powerful and creepy Locksmiths. But it's the city of Toll itself which best shows Hardinge's imagination, where the people aren't only separated by the light of night and day.
With familiar faces - old and new - and a host of fresh friends and enemies to keep things interesting, Mosca's latest adventure is imaginative, original, clever and fun. Old fans will enjoy returning to this world, while newcomers have a treat in store. Detailed and delightful, I'd read it for Saracen if nothing else. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of this lot.
One paragraph into this book, I was in love. And five pages into this book, I was sighing, and thinking 'Oh dear, I'm going to have to pop back onto Amazon and buy everything Francis Hardinge has ever written now, aren't I...'
Hardinge has not only given us a bustling, fascinating world full of adventure, brimming with life and imagination from every corner (lovers of JK Rowling's living, breathing universe will be at home here!), she has developed delightful characters you will love at first sight, and a story which keeps unfolding like some kind of magician's trick, long after she has used up more plot than surely she is entitled to! Hardinge takes such joy in language that every description, every metaphor, is a pleasure to read and re-read. Twilight Robbery is not only fast-paced, thrilling, and colourful, but most importantly crammed with story, from start to finish. The narrow-eyed street urchin Mosca Mye, whose irritable temper, grim wit and slightly grubby appearance hide a heart of gold, travels with the effete, good-humoured, pudgy poet Eponymous Clent (possibly the best name for a fictional charavter EVER) and an inexplicably angry goose as they find themselves trapped in the town of Toll...where mysterious things happen at night that no-one wants to talk about. Soon enough our trio is embroiled in a kidnapping scheme, and its up to Mosca, Clent and Saracen (the aforementioned rabid pet goose) to save the helpless damsel-in-distress Beamabeth Marlebourne before the day breaks...if Mosca can get over her simmering dislike of Beamabeth first.
Hardinge's fun, beautifully-written world easily compares to Diana Wynne Jones and Jonathon Stroud, and in Twilight Robbery I've found not only a host of new characters to adore, but a new author whose future works I look forward to devouring. A final note - athough categorised under Children's Books this is one of the rare gems where the humour and language mean it can be read at any age and appreciated.
on 6 December 2010
No teenage vampires in this book, merely a 12 year old feisty orphan called Mosca Mye and her goose. Mosca lives by her wits and is never far from trouble, so she goes from crisis to crisis in this novel, in which she rescues the Luck of Toll, finds a radical who isn't and rumbles the little Miss Perfect, Beamabeth Marlebourne. Her adventures take her into the strange city of Toll, which stands on the only safe crossing of a dangerous river and holds the key to the security of the whole region. She teams up with the strange Eponymous Clent to enter Toll but no one told her that once you have paid to go in, you have to pay again before they will let you out.
There are many enemies in this story, from the wicked Locksmiths to the night people, who do not officially exist during the day. The worlds of the day people and the night people inevitably converge, after a long complicated saga of intrigue and plotting. Mye finds friends as well as enemies, including the midwife who has to decide whether babies are to have auspicious names entitling them to live on the day side, or will be forever condemned to the darkness. The characters are great, leaping from the page, and the story is engaging, despite its length. The sharp pace keeps the reader's interest right until the end. A lovely book.
on 25 March 2015
BASIC PLOT WITHOUT GIVING AWAY TOO MUCH: This is a sequel to 'Fly By Night' and begins several months after Mosca and Eponymous have left Mandelion, the rebel city. Eponymous is in debtors' prison, so Mosca is forced to try to earn some money by selling her reading skills to the generally illiterate populace. This leads to her unwilling involvement in a terrifying pawnbroker's guild auction, and her capture by a murderous conspirator. Upon escaping, she rescues Eponymous with her usual style and together they find themselves in an enclosed city built over a dangerous and strategically-important river, in which people are classified according to the Beloved day they happen to have been born on. They soon find themselves heavily involved in a kidnapping plot, facing threats from all quarters, not least the sinister Locksmiths Guild...
This was as fab as 'Fly By Night' - in fact, the writing felt more experienced and mature. The story, as ever with Hardinge, is brilliantly imaginative - she has spun an entirely new web of delight which takes us down new paths rather than rehashing the plot from the earlier book as so many sequels tend to do. The characters are distinctive, authentic and developed, the dialogue sparkles, the pacing is superb. There is humour, unexpected events, pathos, courage, some welcome meetings with old characters and many new and wonderful ones.
Highly recommended - BUT READ 'FLY BY NIGHT' FIRST!
Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent fell on hard times after leaving Mandelion. Thanks to Mosca's homicidal pet goose, Saracan, attacking local villagers and the Stationer's Guild disavowing Clent so he can no longer get paid to write, Clent's in debtor's gaol. To get him out Mye sells her skills as a reader but when she picks the wrong client, they all get drawn into a plot to kidnap the daughter of the mayor of Toll.
Seeing the chance to pick up a reward and thanks to the intervention of old `friend', Jennifer Bessel, they arrive in Toll to find it's also fallen on hard times - charging people to both enter and leave the town. Worse, it's split between day and night - those born in periods of time belonging to `bad' saints or Goodmen and Goodwomen are forced to only leave their houses at night, while the day belongs to those born under `good' saints. With only 3 days to stop the kidnap and get the reward, Clent and Mye's plans quickly go awry and Mye soon finds herself locked in Toll-by-night where mercy is a very rare commodity ...
Hardinge's sequel to the award winning FLY BY NIGHT is an incredibly imaginative work. Every element of the world Hardinge creates has been carefully thought through from theology to politics and even language (with many of the characters using their own slang, which is easy to follow). What's particularly good is the absurdity of Toll's reaction to names - caused in part by their fear that the Mandelion radicalism that led to revolution will be replicated there - and Hardinge uses it to flesh out the theology underpinning the society and Mye's budding atheism.
Mye and Clent are great characters - neither is adverse to performing amoral acts, yet Mye has an underlying sensitivity to injustice and a desire to set things right and both have a loyalty to each other that leads them to do good things accidentally.
However the book does feel overwritten at times, which results in the pace dragging at critical times and one of the key plot twists is telegraphed far too early. It's also a long book (over 500 pages) and at times you feel the length.
All in all, it is an interesting book and worth a look, but for me it is not up there with Hardinge's best work (although I remain a fan).
The follow on title from the much loved Fly by Night and one that will keep readers glued from the first page to the last. The wonderfully inventive world that Frances creates will enchant, the writing is lovingly creative and when backed with great prose and a fast paced plot alongside great characters, the reader knows that they have every chance to get the most from this book. Add to this complex recipe some real humdinger twists, a touch of mayhem as well as a quest and you know that its going to be something that is very special to the young reader.
Whilst you don't have to have read the original title in the series I `d suggest that you do as otherwise you may well find yourself missing some of the details that are woven within this titles tapestry which made it a real joy to read. All in, this is fun, it is complex and above all else our characters have to ask if the ends justify the means.
This is the follow up to the well known, Fly by Night but can be enjoyed without the need of having read the first book. I know this because I've yet to read Fly by Night. Mind you after reading Twilight Robbery I immediately went out and got the earlier book. Who would have thought a story featuring a murderous goose and a penniless poet could be such fun! The leader of our gang of misfits is Mosca Mye and together with a midwife, the brutal goose and a crazed dandy knight to help her in her quest into darkness.
The book's billed as a children's book but adult, especially those young at heart, will enjoy it to. Wonderful.
on 29 September 2015
Fly by Night is a firm childhood favourite of mine, and I can't believe I didn't look earlier to see if there's a sequel. With all of her usual talent, the continued adventures of Mosca Mye are possibly even more compelling. You don't need to have read the previous story at all, and the story concept is beautifully original.
This is an excellent sequel to the equally excellent Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge, in which Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent are introduced to us and share their first adventure in the fantasy city of Mandelion, breaking the grip the Locksmith's guild (rather like the mafia) have over the city and helping hand it over to the radical element of the city.
You do not need to have read Fly By Night to understand the sequel, although I recommend you do, as not only is it a good book, but there are certain details in this follow up that are richer for the knowledge of what went on in the first book. Mosca and Eponymous are fleeing Mandelion with Mosca's guard goose, Saracen. Making enemies along the way they stumble across a plan to kidnap the mayor's daughter in the border town of Toll. As they need to go there to escape their fate in Mandelion they decide to try and cash in on their knowledge and make some much needed cash by informing the mayor of the plot against his daughter.
Things are complicated by the archaic and complex rules that govern Toll and which mean that Mosca and Eponymous get a lot more than they bargained for.
The plot is pacy, the tale has a nice mix of suspense and humour which keeps you happily turning the pages, and there is a wealth of rich detail that makes this a thoroughly satisfying fantasy. Mosca, the heroine is wonderfully drawn and her tomboyish ways and sharp wit means that this is a book which should appeal to both girls and boys, as there is no shortage of drama, bloodthirstiness and adventure.