Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is actually quite different. She is certain that the spindlers—evil, spiderlike beings—came during the night and stole his soul. And Liza is also certain that she is the only one who can rescue him.
Armed with little more than her wits and a huge talking rat
for a guide, Liza descends into the dark and ominous underground to save
Patrick's soul. Her quest is far from easy: she must brave tree-snakes,
the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting scawgs before facing her
greatest challenge in the spindlers' lair, where more than just
Patrick's soul is at stake.
Thoughts: This is a sweet tale very much reminiscent of Gregor the Overlander, Alice in Wonderland, and Coraline.
The cast were cute. There was really only two who stuck through the book, Liza and the rat, and though well written I couldn't get into Liza very much. She never really became much of a living character, she just did things to get them done and this left her feeling a little flat. I did love the parts that talked about her relationship with her little brother though, well written and sweetly realistic they gave the book a deeper purpose.
The writing was really good but I was sometimes confused. The author, for the most part, stays silent and simply relates the story but, maybe three times throughout the entire book, inserts a thought or statement (think Lewis's voice in Narnia). Since she did it so infrequently I was usually thrown off for a bit trying to figure out who had said/thought that sentence. Otherwise it was very poetically written and often had me feeling that I was reading a fairytale instead of middle-grade fantasy.
The plot was simply and well done, winding unhurriedly to the very ending which was very satisfying.
Content: This book gets a little dark and might scare some children. There's a tiny bit of violence and mention of magic. Otherwise, a clean read for all ages!