Author: Tom Moorhouse
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
First a rat must earn his name. Then he must live up to it.
This is the story of Gabble, a young rat with a wild, beloved, but unpredictable brother, Ash. At the start of the book Ash tricks Gabble into going out with him on a ‘name raid’, a dangerous mission to earn a True Name, normally reserved for older rats. Gabble finds himself drawn into a perilous adventure, crossing boundaries, fighting with enemy rat packs, and eventually being forced to confront both his brother and himself in the most dramatic fashion.
Source: ARC from Oxford Children’s Books via Amazon Vine
I’m a big fan of Tom Moorhouse’s water vole books (The River Singers and The Rising), and one of the most memorable characters for me was the rat, Fodur. I don’t know if that Fodur is the same as the Fo’dur of this story, or whether this is the legend that spawned a name that was passed down the generations long after the tradition of true names was forgotten, but I liked the connection.
Even more than that, I loved the level of detail that Moorhouse puts into the rat society and the rats themselves. Rats aren’t the most well loved of creatures, but I’ve always found plenty to admire about their intelligence. In this book the rats have myths and gods of their own and strict social structures that can make things very difficult for young rats that don’t fit in.
Like Ash, the white rat. He’s rash and impetuous and determined to prove himself because he’s small and different and doesn’t fit in. His brother Gabble is small too, but much more cautious than his brother. It falls to poor Gabble to try and keep Ash in line. But Ash isn’t interest in behaving himself, he wants to be noticed. When Gabble promises to look after his brother, he has no idea how far keeping his word will take him.
I loved Gabble. He’s just trying to do the best for his brother, while keeping himself alive. He’s brave and clever and I loved how he grows into his name as the story goes on. He has a lot to learn, but he does it quickly and the way he accepts his own differences as the story goes on was wonderful to see.
I also loved the idea of the Hunter, the Taker and the Trickster, the three gods of the rats and how followers of each differ so wildly. I liked the adventures with the chickens and the threat of the cat, and how even the smallest of changes can have such big consequences in this world.
This one is definitely for fans of Moorhouse and anyone with an interest in animals and the countryside. Even if you don’t like rats, there is plenty to enjoy here. It shows a wilder, more natural side to them away from humans, and the adventures the brothers fall into are exciting and interesting to read about. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what Moorhouse comes up with next.
Trickster is Out Now!
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