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The Twyning (2012)

av Terence Blacker

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
589346,947 (3.61)1
"This is a story of courage, of sacrifice, and of survival. This is the story of a rat and a boy whose fates become inextricably linked as their two worlds collide. Eften, a bold young ratling, dares to journey above the underground rat kingdom, where he discovers Dr. Ross-Gibbon's plan to exterminate the rat population. Dogboy, assistant to Dr. Ross-Gibbon, is an abandoned thirteen-year-old with a gift for understanding animals. As war wages between the human world and the rat kingdom. Doyboy must decide where his allegiances truly lie."… (mer)
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Visa 1-5 av 9 (nästa | visa alla)
the world building is really good for the first third of the novel, then it seemed to lose its way. nothing to keep me going to the end. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
As far as quasi-Dickensian fantasies go, this was a strange one. Blacker seems to be going for the more gritty approach in this tale of rat kingdoms versus anti-rat politicians, and he's populated his Victorian city with the requisite quirky and occasionally twisted individuals. The human hero is of course an orphan for all practical purposes (the reason for this is unusual, but I guess it might have been in an attempt to prevent his being a literal orphan). There's also a strange pedophile, which is unusual. And rat torturers who bite out eyeballs, also unusual. And a rat-stomping fest, also unusual. Yeah. All pretty unusual and unpleasant.
  InfoQuest | Nov 17, 2014 |
Generally speaking, I am not one for fantasy literature. I prefer books that transform this world over books that build new worlds. Terrence Blacker’s The Twyning does both with great success.

The Twyning is a young adult novel, but most definitely one of those with appeal beyond this age group. The novel is set in the late 1800s. Peter and Caz, the main human characters are in their early teens, living in a rubbish tip in a hollow Peter’s dug into one of the mounds of trash. Peter picks up odd jobs as he can, most regularly working with Bill, who catches rats for use in rat pits, and for a doctor engaged in an obsessive campaign against rats.

But Blacker gives readers a second world, set below the streets of the city where Peter and Caz live. There we meet Efren, a young rat. Of course, readers can see where this is headed: rats hunted for sporting, hygenic, or political ends; two children who are cogs in these mechanisms of destruction deciding whether to place their loyalties with a human world that has treated them harshly or with the Kingdom, the world of rats they’ve been taught to despise.

The Kingdom, the rat-world, is a marvelously detailed creation with complex rituals, a tense political structure, and a variety of courts—the Court of Governance, the Court of Punishment, the Court of Warriors, the Court of Historians. Efren is a very junior member of the Court of Tasters, rats trained to detect poison-laced food. The Kingdom also has a spiritual center: the Twyning, a group of rats congenitally connected who rely on the community for necessities and who function as a single entity. (And, yes, these really do exist.)

This book had me captivated from the moment I began reading. It’s narrated in two voices—Peter’s and Efren’s—and weaves the two stories together in another sort of twyning: a cross-species bonding full of distrust that becomes increasingly central to the survival of both Peter and Caz and of the Kingdom.

This book has violent moments. First off, there are the rat pits, where human “sportsmen” wager against each other, predicting which dogs will kill the most rats most efficiently. There are also two large-scale rat hunts. Normally, I can’t stomach books with violence toward animals, but in The Twyning, this violence is central to the story, and Blacker depicts it clearly, but never luridly.

In all, The Twyning is a remarkable tale that makes for compelling reading. The reader wants to spend time exploring the Kingdom, observing the ethos and actions that hold it together. The reader also longs for a happy ending for Peter and Caz. Once one starts reading, it is very, very hard to put this book down. Whether or not you’re a young adult, this is a book that will have you reading long past your usual bedtime. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Oct 31, 2014 |
I'm probably not justified in reviewing this book because I didn't finish it, but since I didn't want to be penalized for not reviewing it, I'm leaving a review of sorts.

This was a book I thought I was going to enjoy. I like reading YA and anything where animals are key characters grabs my attention. In a way, I wasn't disappointed. I really liked the development two of the main characters- one a rat, one a human boy- received; they were rounded characters with personality. The writing style itself was somewhat jolting at first since I don't read much present tense or first person, but I got used to this and came to find this a unique way of telling a story.

Unfortunately I just couldn't keep reading. It was just too gruesome and violent for me to be able to handle. This is supposed to be middle grade, young-young adult fantasy, but as a thirty-something woman, I found myself feeling sick to my stomach and anxious. In a way, this shows the author's skill with words and building a setting because it affected me so strongly. After I found myself skipping past two entire chapters/sections, I figured I should probably just put the book aside. I'm sure those who are less affected by violence and have stronger stomachs will find this perfectly enjoyable, but this wasn't for me.
  merigreenleaf | Oct 4, 2014 |
The Twyning is a difficult book to place. Usually "animal stories" are more engaging for young children, but the mature themes, the bleak atmosphere and the frequent gory violence in this story make it more appropriate for young adults.

Blacker has created a complex and compelling underground world for his rat characters, who behave as rats rather than as people, although with a few human traits and conventions thrown in. Their society is threatened by an overzealous doctor who believes they are a scourge to be eliminated at all costs. A young rat, Efren, forms a reluctant bond with a human boy, Dogboy, who must decide between his duty to his human employers and his sympathy for the animals.

I found the fantasy elements and the story quite engrossing, but the frequent violence and overall bleakness of the story did not make for a very enjoyable read. I also felt like the characters and their relationships were not quite fully formed, and didn't draw me in. Overall though, it was a good story with some important ideas to consider, and worth a read for older, more mature children.
  Bitter_Grace | Oct 2, 2014 |
Visa 1-5 av 9 (nästa | visa alla)
This book is, in many ways, pleasantly stereotypical, and the London-that-shall-not-be-named is just the beginning. The Twyning's themes, in particular, are quite conventionally noble. In its four-hundred-odd pages, author Terence Blacker grapples with some profound ideas: violent extermination, the march to war, republicanism versus kingship, and the struggle between personal life and the exigencies of the body politic all feature in this story.
tillagd av karenb | ändraStrange Horizons, Ben Godby (Apr 19, 2013)
 
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"This is a story of courage, of sacrifice, and of survival. This is the story of a rat and a boy whose fates become inextricably linked as their two worlds collide. Eften, a bold young ratling, dares to journey above the underground rat kingdom, where he discovers Dr. Ross-Gibbon's plan to exterminate the rat population. Dogboy, assistant to Dr. Ross-Gibbon, is an abandoned thirteen-year-old with a gift for understanding animals. As war wages between the human world and the rat kingdom. Doyboy must decide where his allegiances truly lie."

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