Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bookanista Review: Nightshade City, by Hilary Wagner

I love Bookanista Thursdays, because it gives me an excuse to gush and rave about amazing books and hopefully spread the word. And today's book is one I've been especially excited about, not only because it's Middle Grade--you all know I have a soft spot for Middle Grade--but because it carries an amazing blurb from one of my favorite middle grade authors. But we'll get to that in a second. First, the cover:

And what the publisher has to say:

Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, the kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats--brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover--flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city--Nightshade City.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, IT IS!!!

Here's what I love about this book: the main characters are rats and worms--two of the most under appreciated creatures on the planet--and yet she makes you feel for them. Care about them. She's kinda made me feel sad for every dead worm I've ever seen on the sidewalk, or every rat my cats have caught--and believe me, I did NOT feel that way before. Not to mention she gave them just the right mix of animal and human qualities, so you could never *quite* forget that you were reading about rats and worms, while still being completely able to relate to them. NOT an easy thing to pull off, I'm sure.

I could keep going, but--as per usual--the amazing Rick Riordan put it SO much better than I ever could (*turns green with envy about her Rick Riordan Blurb*)

"Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean society of rats. The world of the Catacombs is so compelling readers will wonder if it really might exist under our city streets. Expect great adventures in Nightshade-City."
-Rick Riordan

Well said Mr. Riordon. And well done Ms Wagner. My hats off to both of you! *applauds*

For more awesome book recommendations, be sure to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:


  1. I saw Hilary's book in the bookstore a few days ago. I am hoping to pick it up next time because it looks amazing! Thanks for giving us some insight into what you loved about it. Rats and worms, haha... I love it. can't wait!


  2. This is so on my list for books to read by the end of the year!! I love the premise, I love the whackiness of it - love it!!!

    Thanks for a great review!

    Take care

  3. I really want to read this. I don't usually like books with animals as characters, but I really want to read this one.

    And isn't it awesome Hilary got a blurb from Rick Riordan?

  4. I loved this! A great animal adventure read!

  5. I'm looking forward to this, too. Reminds me a bit of Mrs. Frisby and the Rat of NIMH.

  6. I love how different this book looks. Yay Hilary!

    Can't wait to read it.


  7. OMG I love Hilary and I am so looking forward to Nightshade City! Oct is not very far away anymore.

  8. Not only am I excited about reading Nightshade City because it sounds fantastic, but also because Hilary seems like such a nice person (at least that's the facade she portrays on her blog). Very happy for her debut =)

  9. Shannon, thank you so much for such a lovely review! The Bookanistas are really fantastic! I'm so excited about my debut! It's so soon now--my nerves are wearing paper thin! I've stocked up on Cheetos and Candy Corn though, so I'm good! ;)

    Thanks again and take care!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  10. I've got this waiting on my nightstand! Can't wait to dive in!

  11. Oh, I haven't heard much about this until now. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  12. I'm looking forward to having Hilary's book in my classroom this fall! :)

  13. Okay, you had me sold already, but RICK RIORDAN??? I LOVE that guy! One of the best MG authors, in my opinion.

  14. Rats and worms? Pass the Twizzlers, I want to read this now. I totally would have gobbled this up in high school. Maybe I'll give it a go for the old reader in me. Wait did I say old? I meant young. Yeah, that's it.

  15. I've heard so many good things about this book, I will have to check it out now! Thanks so much for the review!

  16. I won this in a recent contest. My son just finished it, so I'll be reading it soon. I can't wait! :-)

  17. +JMJ+

    I have to read this because I love what I call "Talking Mice Books"! =D

    Oh, speaking of some really unloved and unappreciated creatures, you should try the mixed cast of Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. It's the first of her MG series about eleven-year-old Gregor and the Underland, which is populated by humans, giant rats, giant spiders, giant bats, and . . . (wait for it) . . . giant cockroaches!!! I admit I was totally skeptical, but she made it work for me. And I only wish I was as virtuous as Gregor in the end when--and don't worry; this isn't a spoiler--he vowed never to kill another cockroach again!


Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Any arguing or intense debate--on any subject will be removed. Let's keep this a safe, fun space.