Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Twelve-year-old Jones is an orphan, training as an apprentice hunter alongside his mentor, Maitland, tackling ogres, trolls and all manner of creatures that live in the Badlands – a hidden part of our own world, and which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares. But all Jones secretly wants to be is an ordinary boy and to leave the magical world forever…
When an ogre hunt goes wrong and Maitland is killed, Jones finally has a chance to find out where he came from. But the truth he uncovers isn’t what he’s expecting and it seems that if Jones is going to make his dream come true he’ll have to defeat a creature not even Maitland had dared take on and he won’t be able to do it alone…
He’s going to need help from Ruby, the first girl he’s ever met. She’s outspoken, fearless and determined to prove she’s as good as any boy, and unlike Jones, being ordinary is the last thing on her mind. Ruby’s desperate to find her place in the world and thinks the Badlands could be it. So, working together isn’t going to be straightforward. In fact, it could be downright dangerous.
But who said getting what you want is supposed to easy, even if it is just wanting to be ordinary?
Why I can’t wait:
- Shaddowlands of any type thrill me. The Boy with One Name builds on a tradition of worlds-alongside-our-world. I loved Ned’s Circus of Marvels, with its aggressive fairy folk, and The Beginning Woods, where imagination belonged to a different world. Odds are, Jones has a connection to the Badlands which qualifies him alone for the task at hand.
- ‘prove she’s as good as any boy’. Queue exploration of gender equality. I hope this is explored through Ruby’s character development.
- Why did Maitland not dare to take this creature on? Is the creature ferocious, or did some past event deter him?
- I enjoyed Wallis’s YA novel, The Dark Inside. The connection between the neglected protagonist and Webster, a homeless man who claims to be cursed, reminded me of David Almond’s work. Middle Grade adventure is where it is happening, and I am interested to read Wallis’s take on the genre.
The Boy With One Name
Simon and Schuster Children’s UK