Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Plague of Bogles by Catherine Jinks

Set in Victorian era London, A Plague of Bogles is just as good as the first book in the series, How To Catch a Bogle.  What is a bogle you ask? A scary creature that can be as small as a dog or as big as a man. The creatures are fierce and devilish  and Alfred Bunce is the man to do the killing.

In the first book a young girl with a beautiful voice called Birdie McAdam was his apprentice but in this novel Jem Barbary, a street urchin and former pickpocket is reluctantly taken in by Alfred. Catching bogles requires a young helper because they love to eat children and babies.

Killing the bogles is not easy but Alfred is unstinting in his task. He soon realizes that something is amiss. There are way too many bogles near to each other in the city. What could be causing that? Jem, for his part has his own reasons for helping Alfred, he has a score to settle with an old nemesis.

Mrs Jinks is a fantastic writer, she recreates the era through her use of slang from the time (there is a glossary in the back) and perfectly depicts the class distinctions characteristic of Victorian era Britain. She demonstrates fantastic use of descriptive language like for example when she tells how one character has to jostle with other patrons in a pub you can actually create a mental image of that scene.  The bogles are scary creatures but thankfully no encounter with them lasts very long and when it does you find yourself waiting for the next one.

This is a good read and I recommend it for ages 8+.

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