I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ratgirl: Song of the Viper by Gayle C. Krause
on January, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, YA
Source: the author
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Sixteen-year-old streetwise orphan, Jax Stone is an expert at surviving in a dangerous city, where rats rival the homeless for food and shelter, but she’s an amateur at fighting the immoral mayor when he kidnaps her little brother. Desperation demands she quickly master the role of courageous opponent. She uses her hypnotic singing voice to lead rats to their death, and all the children to safety, in a dying city cursed by the deadly sun.
I have to admit, I have a soft spot of fairy tale retellings. They appeal to my younger self, while still satisfying my adult self. They usually have a perfect balance of the classic story, while modernizing it to be popular with a whole new generation. Ratgirl also incorporates a dystopian aspect as well, so it’s pretty much everything I could ever want in a book!
As with any dystopian, world building is key. As a reader, I need to believe that the world as we know it has gone down the tubes. Krause has done a fantabulous job! She took the story of the pied piper, which isn’t a standard or obvious choice for a retelling. The pied piper character was always a skinny fellow in brightly colored tights, with a feather in his jaunty cap. Not only has Krause changed him into a her, but she also incorporated some interesting twists into the original story.
Were there any distinct characters in the original fairytale besides the Pied Piper? There was a mayor and some greedy adults, a bunch of children and of course, the rats. No names were needed to tell the story. Ratgirl goes deeper than just the obvious. Playing the role of the Pied Piper is Jax. She is rough, tough and resourceful. She takes care of her family, which is made up of her little brother and a group of starving stragglers. This rag tag group of survivors is the biggest change in the story. The Piper can’t stand against the mayor all on her own. Instead of being the greedy and vindictive Piper of the past, Jax has the best of motivations. LOVED the changes and additions!
I have to admit that I’m not sure how I felt about the ending. It left a lot of loose threads, and in fact, had me asking even more questions. I am desperately hoping that this will be a series! I would most definitely dig into a second book!
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