MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Kieran Larwood
Illustrations by Sam Usher
Published by Faber & Faber

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Normally, she would have felt bad about the hurt look on his face, but now the cat was in control, and cats didn’t care about things like feelings.

This book in three words:


I absolutely loved Carnival of the Lost which I read earlier this year, so was very eager to return to this richly atmospheric, dark, Victorian London in the sequel, Carnival of the Hunted.  I’m very pleased to report that it’s a real belter!  An absolutely thrilling, action-packed, page-turner of an adventure:  intriguing, dark, and oh-so-twisty.  It can be read as a standalone, but I would definitely recommend treating yourself to the brilliance of both.

There is terrible danger on the streets of London for those who belong to a sideshow act as they are being hunted for sport by a sinister group:  The Hunters’ Club.  When former sideshow acts, siblings Inji and Sil, and their friend, Glyph, are drugged and sold by their cruel criminal gang boss to these hunters, it seems their fate is sealed, but the Carnival of the Lost have other ideas!  Former sideshow acts, Sheba the wolfgirl and Pyewacket the witch’s imp are now established private investigators who are determined to track down this notorious group and uncover their identities which have been hidden behind animal masks.  And they may have found witnesses when they rescue Inji, Sil and Glyph …

And so, the hunters become the hunted as the Carnival of the Lost, together with their new recruits, follow a tantalising trail that leads them on a dangerous journey into their past lives, and through the dark underbelly of Victorian London where poverty and maltreatment is rampant.  Oh my goodness!  I was completely gripped by this intriguing adventure with its breath-taking twists and revelations … will the Carnival discover the truth behind the hunt, or will they be too late to stop others being harmed?     

I really loved meeting Sheba and Pyewacket again and loved that they are now private investigators, helping other sideshow acts to escape from exploitation.  Sheba has learned to get control of her wolfish traits, but still brings this to the fore when needed, and Pyewacket still has a fantastic sense of humour!  I loved that they are now making their own inventions to help in their sleuthing à la Q in Bond, but in complete Pyewacket style! Poo-ball anyone?

Half-cat Inji and armadillo-like Sil have suffered loss, heart-breaking cruelty and endless exploitation in their young lives, yet they don’t let this define them, and are wonderfully strong, courageous and kind-hearted characters who have such a heartfelt sibling bond.  Inji finds it incredibly hard to trust so is wary of Sheba and Pyewacket at first, not able to believe in their kindness and that they want to look after them, and make them part of their family.  Inji is someone who has had to fight for survival her whole life and who has had the responsibility of looking out for her brother, so it is wonderfully heart-warming that others are prepared and willing to look out for her and her family.

The double-page illustrations sprinkled throughout are absolutely stunning and complement the story perfectly. I also really liked the border around each page and the chapter headings which really whets the appetite for the full chapter.

Carnival of the Hunted is an exhilarating sequel that took me on a truly heart-racing adventure brimming with danger, intrigue and revelations.  An absolute must-read for readers of 10+.

Thank you to Bethany Carter and Faber Children’s for a copy of this brilliant book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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