"A small, wispy hole had appeared in the clouds, and Trevor saw something he'd only seen in his dreams. He saw a hint of blue." - The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay
"Boogie! Boogie! Boogie!" Don't mind me. I'm just trying to frighten the Boogie Man away (a.k.a. bogeyman, a.k.a bogey). You see, in middle school I became aware of a song specifically for occasions such as this. "Boogie! Boogie! Boogie!" by Wisconsin singer Tom Pease has a stanza that goes -
"So, when you get a little frightened or maybe real scaredYou know, usually that works. Too bad Trevor from The Purloined Boy didn't know the useful ditty. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have ended up in a dark, terrible place called Superbia where bogeymen roam the land looking for children to devour and where the evil Lucian reigns.
Or wake up from a bad dream or have a nightmare
Sit up in bed and shout with all your might:
Boogie! Boogie! Boogie!" Then dive out of sight!"
The young adult/middle grade fantasy The Purloined Boy begins with the scene where young toddler Trevor is snatched from his bed by bogeymen and taken the the gray land of Superbia. He joins other children in a nightmarish orphanage full of stolen children and his memories of home nearly vanish. The children there are severely disciplined if they show any memories of home or use the forbidden words "home" or "parent." Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Trevor, at the age of 12 he starts remembering home and starts talking about it. He befriends a girl named Maggie who also lives in the orphange and, aided by a little mouse named Zephyr, he sets out on a complicated journey to find his home.
The Purloined Boy pulls readers into fascinating, albeit sometimes creepy new worlds. Superbia, a land of darkness and terror, draws from the things nightmares are made of -- child-eating bogeymen, an otherworldly ruler named Lucian, awful places called "the Pantry" and "the Blackwood". There are bright spots though, too, like "Troth" the great tree lit by golden fruit that exists in a place called Trothward where members of the orders of the Guild (Alchemists, Illuminators and Fishers) reside. And, who can resist a book that includes an "Office of the Inspector of Incorrigible Children?"
Clay's creative and interesting story snatched me up and whisked me away into a surprising adventure full of twists beyond my expectations. Really, I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy this book, the first in series called The Weirdling Cycle. Yes, I had my doubts. Add that to the fact that it is posthumously written by a supposedly dead author Mortimus Clay -- that just has odd written all over it. But, most kids like oddities, they like slightly terrifying stories and they love exciting plots. (Those sensitive types that don't shouldn't read this book.) Keeping track of all the characters and their crazy, meaningful names gets a little tricky sometimes, but if you can hang in there, I guarantee this read is worth it. I am eagerly and a bit fearfully awaiting the next title, wanting desperately to know what happens to my favorite little mouse named Zephyr and the bright young boy named Trevor.
The Purloined Boy: The Weirdling Cycle, Book 1 by Mortimus Clay. Finster Press (April 2009); 249 pages; ISBN 9780982159804; Middle Grade/YA
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by the author as part of TLC Book Tours (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)
Mortimus Clay - Author Website (of sorts)
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