Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Two for Tuesday: Review of Hilary Wagner's The White Assassin and Lords of Trillium (Nightshade Chronicles #2 and #3)
Back in March, Hilary Wagner was giving away signed hardcovers for the third book from her Nightshade Chronicles at Project Middle Grade Mayhem.blogspot.com, I was very lucky to win a copy of the Lords of Trillium. Having read Nightshade City back in 2012, I quickly decided to pick up The White Assassin from the library and make this review a two parter. Man, am I ever glad I don't skip around in a series! I loved The White Assassin.
Sequels sometimes are hard for me to get back into, especially when I wait like forever between reading the next book. Sometimes it's really hard to get up to date, yet the nice thing about the Nightshade Chronicles was that I had recalled what it was about the first book that I really enjoyed so much, the vivid descriptions and the overall sense of good versus evil. That those same feelings were there for me with The White Assassin makes this story just that much more special. I still felt like I was diving into a Brian Jacques Redwall book and loving every minute of it.
The White Assassin takes place sometime after the events in Nightshade City. Juniper has gathered a council of rats, bats and snakes to work together to try and save the City of Nightshade from an attack by Billycan, but also to save them all from his terror and destruction. The plan is to capture Billycan, give him a truth serum and interrogate him to learn who he is working with and who his targets are. But, Billycan is a pretty ruthless leader and he's also very smart, so catching him wont be as easy as it seems. Yet once he is captured, can anyone believe what he has to say anyways? Billycan so grew on me, he is pretty evil as rats go and yet once he is captured a vulnerable side to him is exposed. Wagner brilliantly shows the reader Billycan's past which gives him much more depth and adds so many more layers to the story, just wonderful. And although the story resolved itself pretty well, there were some pretty good mysteries left to solve so I was left eager to jump back into the Catacombs and Nightshade City if anything just to see what Billycan would be up to next.
Lords of Trillium begins with the disappearance of rats from Nightshade City. Juniper and Vincent quickly go Topside in order to search for the missing Hunters, hoping to find clues as to whether the dock rats, Humans of Trillium or even Billycan are behind it. Over the past year, the Council has been searching through the books, journals and research papers that were left behind by the scientists for answers to the rats longevity, strength and intelligence. At the same time, Billycan has made his way to Tosca trying to move away from his past and maybe do some good. While there, Billycan learns that someone he knows closely had an army on Tosca and was instrumental in causing the King to go "mad" and is now secretly plotting revenge against Juniper and all of Nightshade. Will Billycan make it back to Trillium in time to help?
There is so much to love about this series, with characters like Juniper and Victor and Vincent and their loyalty to family and the City of Nightshade, or the settings and dangers that Wagner puts these rats in as they navigate their way through the city and lab of Prince Pharmaceuticals to try to discover what the scientists want from them. There is also the intrigue and plotting of the revenge and an overall plot of good versus evil. And the beautiful messages of redemption, just fantastic. The whole series was wonderful and it really doesn't get the recognition that it deserves. Although Wagner tied up all the threads going on across the series she left some room for a possible book, which I hope someday she might write because I truly would like to see more of Billycan. Thank you once again to the author for the autographed copy of your book.