Friday, March 23, 2012

Eyeball Collector (MG/YA)

The Eyeball Collector. F.E. Higgins. 2009. Feiwel and Friends. 250 pages.

"Tartri flammis!" cursed Hector as his stomach tightened in a knot and his chest jerked violently with every beat of his heart. He rotated slowly on the spot, panting from the chase. His nose tingled with the stench that filled the air. Already his ears were pricking to the menacing sounds around him: screeches and wails, scraping and dragging, and the ominous unrelenting moaning. So this is fear, he thought. In a strange way it excited him.

See what reading one great book can do?! It can lead you to reading other great books! Yesterday, I was oh-so-happy to have read F.E. Higgin's The Bone Magician. And I was oh-so-happy that I'd thought ahead to check out all of her books at the same time. Because I just couldn't wait to get to The Eyeball Collector! And it did NOT disappoint. It was absolutely wonderful!

Six or seven years have passed since the events of The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician. The Eyeball Collector is set in the same town as The Bone Magician, the dreadfully unpleasant city of Urbs Umida. (One thing you might notice if you read both books is that it seems Beag Hickory has made it as a poet at last. This novel is not only dedicated to Beag, it opens with one of Beag's poems, and in passing a reference is made in a bookshop to a book of Beag's poetry!) The Eyeball Collector can definitely be read on its own as a standalone--it's nice to know just in case you've got access to one but not all. But I do think that after getting a taste of Higgins' writing, you'll want to read them all.

The hero of The Eyeball Collector is a young boy, Hector Fitzbaudly. He's from the good side of town. (All the somebodies live on the North side of town.) Which makes him being on the wrong side of town--the South side, the too-close-to-the-stinky-river-side--a big mistake on his part. But he wanted adventure, excitement, he wanted to see how the other side lived. He didn't quite expect to be so completely robbed. But if that was the worst that happened to young Hector, he'd consider himself fortunate. For it isn't too long after that he witnesses someone--a one-eyed someone--trying to blackmail his father. His father gives in to the blackmailer's demands, but the blackmailer sells his story to the papers anyway. So all was for nothing. Long story short, Hector's father isn't long for this world. And soon he's an orphan, an orphan determined to find the man responsible for his father's downfall and death. He's determined to find this one-eyed man and kill him.

Of course, that's just one aspect of the story...

I loved so much about The Eyeball Collector. I loved the atmosphere and setting, the tone of this one. There is something delightfully-and-charmingly creepy about this one. The villains and even the heroes are a bit eccentric, you might say. And the storytelling, well, it kept me reading.

Read The Eyeball Collector
  • If you are a fan of F.E. Higgins
  • If you are a fan of middle grade or young adult fantasy
  • If you aren't quite a Dickens fan but you've always thought you should be
  • If you like atmospheric shady-gothic reads full of eccentric characters
  • If you're a cat lover who can forgive a book for killing off two cats

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Lynn 2:34 PM  

Charmingly creepy and gothic - I think I'm going to like these books.
Lynn :D

Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous 8:28 PM  

Your review didn't answer what I really wanted to know--this can't possibly be about what it SOUNDS like it's about...right? Actually, if it's dark and creepy, maybe it can be... I don't think I could read it, because just contemplating the title too much is starting to weird me out! :)

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am not a fan of:

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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