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Friday 6 September 2013

Review: A Very Peculiar Plague (City of Orphans #2)

Alfred Bunce the bogler has moved to the Strand where no one knows about his previous work. He now makes flypaper and lives a boring life. He no longer hunts the monsters that eat children in the dark hidden places of London since Birdie, his former apprentice, moved in with Miss Eamers to learn how to be a lady and train her voice for the opera. Jem has stopped picking pockets and is determined to take revenge on Sarah Pickles after she betrayed him for money.

Someone is conning people by using Birdie’s name in a carnival show in Whitechapel to draw crowds. Alfred Bunce is drawn again into the bogling business with Jem as his new apprentice when children continue to go missing, but this peculiar plague proves to be more horrible than anything Bunce has ever experienced.

The bogles have evolved into something horribly gruesome in appearance and are more vicious than ever. Does the upsurge in bogle appearances have anything to do with the sewers that lead to Newgate prison, or the graveyard that used to be beneath the Hall of the boys school?

Startling revelations come Jem’s way on his search for Sarah Pickles. She proves to be more callous and threatening than he had expected. Sarah is baby farming together with her daughter, not for any humane reason, but for a ghastly, gut-wrenching reason that is tied in with the missing children. 

This series is highly imaginative, well-researched and with a glossary to explain words common in the era in which the books are set that may be unfamiliar to modern readers. There is a feeling of being transported into the scenes on the page due to Catherine Jinks’ superb prose and undeniable skill with words. The series began with A Very Unusual Pursuit (KBR review here) and the third book in this outstanding series, A Very Singular Guild, is due out soon.

Title: A Very Peculiar Plague (City Of Orphans # 2)
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743313053
For ages: 12+
Type: Middle Fiction