Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge

I loved Fly By Night so when I saw a sequel had been released I knew I needed to read it right away.   And if you enjoyed the first book I think you will enjoy Fly Trap as well. It is full of the same dry humor, word play, imaginative characters, fascinating world building and intricate plots.

Having barely escaped the revolution they had a huge (if accidental) part in causing, sharp-eyed orphan Mosca Mye; her guard goose, Saracen; and their sometimes-loyal companion, the con man Eponymous Clent, must start anew.

All too quickly, they find themselves embroiled in fresh schemes and twisting politics as they are trapped in Toll, an odd town that changes its entire personality as day turns to night. Mosca and her friends attempt to fend off devious new foes, subvert old enemies, prevent the kidnapping of the mayor’s daughter, steal the town’s Luck, and somehow manage to escape with their lives—and hopefully a little money in their pockets.

In the eagerly awaited sequel to Fly by Night, acclaimed storyteller Frances Hardinge returns to a vivid world rich with humor, danger, and discovery.

This one has a serious idea below the surface as well: that treating people differently based on arbitrary standards warps and poisons society. Hardinge powerfully portrays how society becomes stratified with those in power using fear to divide and conquer.

Hardinge is incredibly inventive in her world building; incorporating the role of names and social standing into her complex religious structure of gods and goddesses. She then folds the politics and culture into the mix.

The book’s length (it is nearly 600 pages), however, requires a level of concentration that I admittedly lacked at times. I felt like the plot meandered a bit and the tension ebbed and flowed rather than building. In the middle I wasn’t sure exactly where the book was headed. But the conclusion is strong and there are a number of plot twists that keep the reader guessing.

Readers looking for a meaty series to sink their teeth into will enjoy this creative and intelligent pair of books.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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