Be warned: it is not for the very young or faint-hearted. There are some truly terrifying scenes of the Wild Hunt and not a small amount of bloodthirstiness. Books and Publishing
I have had Accidental Heroes - The Rogues Book One on my reading pile since late last year. I know books by Lian Tanner always contain richly imagined worlds and strong characters so I wanted take my time to read her newest book.
The opening scene really drew me in. Duckling lives with her grandpa and he "had the sweetest smile you could imagine ... It made him look kind-hearted and trustworthy and good. But Duckling new better." I just knew Duckling would be a hero I could really get behind.
Grandfather is a schemer. He needs a boy for his newest plan which he promises Duckling will be his last. The power of this writing is that while nothing is directly stated it seems obvious that this actually won't be the last scheme. Duckling goes into the town to look for a boy "strong. Not too bright. ... a disposable boy." The boy she finds is Pummel - a farm boy who has come into town to find a job so he can support his mum who is struggling back on their farm.
Pummel has found a job as a Snuffigator. He has to watch out for snares, poisonous vapours and frogs. The people of Berren do not believe in magic and yet it is clearly everywhere. Meanwhile The Bayam of Saaf, Mistress of Winds and first Hag is dying. She must pass on her skills. Time is short. "What she needed was a girl with some Saaf blood in her veins. A cunning girl ... but she could not find such a child. The paths showed her a boy whose great-great-grandmother was Saaf, though he did not know it. They showed her a girl as cunning as any Hag." And so the magic is shared. Duckling can tame the wind and Pummel has the raashk - an ancient relic that allows him to see ghosts and walk through walls.
Grandfather takes the children into the castle (at this point we have no idea about his dastardly scheme) and all three are trapped there just as the city ruler, called the Margravine, and her court and son are also trapped in this strong hold. Someone is trying to assassinate the heir. Pummel, Duckling and a special cat must now take on a mission to save him but at every turn they also need to make decisions about whom to trust beginning with each other.
I love the way Lian Tanner takes the reader right into the atmosphere of this place - Berren, capital city of Neuhalt.
"Gas-fueled omnibuses blew their horns to announce their importance. Street rigs and butchers' carts rumbled over the cobblestones ... Bells rang, gazette-sellers shouted, men and women hurried down the footpaths talking loudly."
Here is a review in Reading Time. I will make one of my predictions and say this book is surely certain to be short listed for our CBCA awards. Accidental Heroes is the first book in a planned trilogy. I would follow this book A very unusual Pursuit by Catherine Jinks and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. Fans of the Skulduggery series might also enjoy Accidental Heroes.