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Publication: The Horn Book Magazine
Author: Hunt, Jonathan
Date published: May 1, 2011
Language: English
PMID: 28505
ISSN: 00185078
Journal code: IHBO

Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge Intermediate Harper/HarperCollins 584pp. 6/11 978-0-06-088044-6 $16.99 g

With prodigious talent and fertile imagination, Hardinge returns to the world of her first novel, Fly by Night, for a satisfying sequel. Three months have passed since the strange affairs in the city of Mandelion. With con-man companion Eponymous Clent now in debtor's prison, young Mosca Mye tries to finagle his release. Eventually, the duo find themselves in Toll, a curious town with separate societies - one diurnal, the other nocturnal - and a strategic location that provides the sole bridge across an otherwise uncrossable river. The labyrinthine plotting, a Hardinge trademark, includes a couple of old villains, several new ones, no less than four kidnappings, a handful of double crosses, and numerous reversals of fortune. The leisurely pacing allows Hardinge to plant various clues and red herrings, flesh out the elaborate cast of characters, revel in language and wordplay, and bring the setting (vaguely reminiscent of Europe during the early modern era) vividly to life - all with a Dickensian flair. Hours of sustained pleasure reading await the patient reader. JONATHAN HUNT

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