Blacker, Terence. The Twyning. 415 pages. Candlewick Press, 2014. $16.99. Language: PG (four swears). Violence: PG (references to domestic violence, rat killing). Sexual content: PG-13 (most of the sexual content is only eluded too. The main character Peter, doesn’t know that he is visiting prostitutes. The other main character Catherine’s mother is a prostitute and has gentleman callers and she is later kidnapped by a pedophile. What happened while in his power is not explained). The story is told from multiple perspectives and felt disjointed to me. Half of the story is told from the viewpoint of rats, Efren being the main rat character and the other half told by humans, mostly by Peter, but also by Catherine who has a pet rat named Malaika. Efren sees the former rat king caught by humans and tells the rat assembly. Peter Simeon is called Dogboy. He grew up in a warm house with servants but then he was called a Bastard and taken away from home and dropped in the streets. To stay alive he lived with the street dogs and he can sense animal’s feelings. Peter assists Dr. Ross-Gibbon’s whose purpose is to exterminate rats. He convinces a politician that ridding the city of rats will get him re-elected. Peter and Catherine are caught between their friendship with animals, particularly rats, and the aggression of the human adults. Author, Terence Blacker does amazing world building for the rats. Their society and organization is original and interesting. Aside from that, I found the book rather slow, ponderous, and predictable. The friendships between Peter and Catherine, and Catherine and the rats are a high point, but not enough to sustain you through the sewers of the book.
MS-OPTIONAL. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.