Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Horror
Size: 272 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 1st, 2009
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Sinister City series
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the third book in Higgins Tales from the Sinister City series. All of these tales are separate stories, but the characters do have some cross over from book to book. I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first two books, but it was still a wonderful story. Unlike previous stories this story didn’t really have any element of magic to it; it was a creepy and fun historical mystery with a heavy Victorian overtone to it.
Hector is the son on a wealthy wine merchant. He has led a life of privledge, only occasionally touring the destitute south side of the city which he finds kind of exciting. When his father’s business is ruined because of his father’s shady past in gin selling and his father perishes; Hector suddenly finds himself destitute and living in the horrible South side of the city. He is taken in by a nice woman and her husband but has sworn revenge on the man who ruined his father. When the very man who ruins his father hires Hector for his knowledge of butterflies Hector is given the perfect opporunity for his revenge.
This book wasn’t as dark as the previous books, but it was still a pretty dark story. The majority of the characters are very realistic and flawed, at times they are not all that likable but they are always interesting. I loved all the knowledge Hector had about butterflies and poisons; it was fun to read about. I loved how characters from previous books are woven into small roles in this story.
Higgins does an excellent job painting a dark and creepy atmosphere. It is easy to visualize the surroundings. While the characters don’t have a ton of depth to them, they are all very quirky and interesting.
The plot moved quickly and had some interesting twists and turns. I love the plan Hector comes up with for revenge; it is so creative, so elegant, yet kind of twisted. The concept of how revenge can twist a person is discussed and it was well done; yeah this is a theme that’s been used many time in many stories before but it really works for this story and has a lot of creative elements to it.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, although not as much as previous ones. I didn’t click as well with Hector as I have with the lead characters in the previous two books. I still loved the twisted and dark Sinister City, the quirky characters, and the creative turns the plot took. This is an excellent book for middle grade and older. It should appeal to those who like their mystery/adventure with a tad of the fantastic, a lot of dark and twisted strangeness, and a little bit of gruesomeness. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, The Lunatic’s Curse.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 100+ Reading Challenge