Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner

Animal tales are the best, and Hilary Wagner has created a delightfully creepy fantasy filled with adventure and great deeds in her debut novel Nightshade City.

Beneath the human city of Trillium lies another world called the Catacombs. Here there be rats, intelligent rats, who suffer under the hand of the evil High Minister Killdeer and his wicked henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat. Peace once reigned in the Catacombs until Killdeer and Billycan turned the democratic society into a dictatorship with the Bloody Coup.

Now a rebellion is in the works, and three young rats–Vincent and Victor Nightshade, and the clever young Clover–are drawn into the conflict to defeat the Catacomb’s oppressors. Led by Juniper Belancourt, an older one-eyed rat who remembers the days of peace, they seek to establish a new beginning with their own Nightshade City.

Kids who loved Redwall will really enjoy the world Wagner has created with her characters and story. Wagner does an excellent job keeping the younger reader engaged;  the story is tense, but not overwhelming for children. Wagner leads the younger reader through harrowing events with such grace, because she has a way of intertwining a line of hope with every wicked thing that happens.

Her characters are sharp, and so far, adults and kids alike love Billycan as one of the up and coming villian greats. Billycan is the perfect bad guy, yet at the same time, the reader can’t help but feel a little sad for him too.

All the characters of Nightshade City leap off the page and will engage the reader’s imagination. Yet beneath all the adventure, Nightshade City shines bright with hope. It’s a story of what can be achieved when everyone works together, but the tale never loses sight of Vicent’s love for his brother Victor. Together they learn about friendship and the courage they will need to one day lead in Nightshade City.

My rating:

5 thoughts on “Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner

  1. I did buy the book and I read it — and enjoyed it! I’m going to send it to GMR’s gd . . . and what you said about billycan is so true – he’s a villian, but sympathetic and I liked that.

    Clover was one of my faves :)

  2. Wasn’t that a great read? I think Hilary did a super job making the novel creepy without going overboard and there were enough characters that any kid could easily pick a favorite. I’m going to have to start buying books for other people’s kids. ;-)

  3. Just ran across this, Hilary … congratulations to a great, great sister-in-law … we’re so proud of you. Don’t get stuck in the snow … JUST ANOTHER NICE DAY IN FLORIDA! Maybe you could write a book about our Florida alligators or lizards?????

    Love,

    S & T

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