From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—A companion to Murkmere
(Little, Brown, 2006), this gothic fantasy follows the story of Scuff, otherwise known as 102, an orphan who doesn't know if she ever had a real name. When soldiers come looking for her at the remote manor house where she works as a servant, the girl is certain it's for a crime she committed as a small child in the Capital. After escaping, she is aided by some and led astray by others until she finds herself mixed up in a plot to assassinate the son of the Lord Protector. The story is convoluted, with many characters floating in and out, and tends to bog down. Although the writing (particularly the dialect-spiced dialogue) is vivid, it is often difficult to understand the motivation driving many of the characters, including Scuff herself, who is blown by the winds of fate from one bad situation to another. Buy where Murkmere
has been popular, but otherwise you can skip this rather turgid fantasy.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
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Fans of Murkmere
(2006) will enjoy this companion, which follows the orphan Scuff as she flees Murkmere after learning that soldiers of Protector's army are intent on hunting her down. Why the kitchen maid should merit such attention is the crux of the novel, though this element sometimes disappears as the tale twists through the marshes and dingy small towns and into the fear-ridden capital city. The novel can stand alone, though readers familiar with the previous book will have a better understanding of the religious and familial underpinnings that are so integral to the story. Elliott tries to do a bit too much here, this intensely detailed, haunting novel will draw in readers, as much with its romance as its mystery. A few of the characters are not well integrated into the whole, but the entire cast is exceptionally drawn, particularly Scuff; sometimes brave, often scared, always in trouble, she is a realistic heroine who will win readers' affection. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved