cover image The Luck Uglies

The Luck Uglies

Paul Durham, illus. by P%C3%A9tur Antonsson. Harper, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-227150-1

In Durham's witty fantasy debut, 11-year-old Rye O'Chanter is bent on mischief with her friends Quinn and Folly. They live in Village Drowning, a muddy place haunted by tales of ravenous Bog Noblins, vicious creatures from Beyond the Shale, and criminal Luck Uglies, outlaw robbers long since driven away by the Earl of Longchance, who holds Drowning in an iron grip. Rye's household offers no respite from the peculiarities of the outside world: her mother enforces a cryptic set of House Rules, Rye's pet cat Shady can't possibly be only a cat, and her father's identity remains unknown to her. When a monster from legend and a tattooed man named Harmless appear, Rye aligns with the blind street rat Truitt and the Earl's unpleasant daughter, Malydia, to help the Luck Uglies save Drowning from dangers without and tyranny within. First in a planned trilogy, this adventure staggers slightly under the weight of its thorny plot turns, but is kept aloft by brisk wordplay, a charming heroine, and a provocative blurring of the border between heroism and villainy. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author's agent: Michelle Andelman, Regal Literary. (May)