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|Boys of fire and ash|
Author: McIsaac, Meaghan
Urgle and two other Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit, where boys are abandoned at birth and learn to fend for themselves and rear their younger brothers, embark on a quest to rescue Urgle's brother, Cubby, who has been carried off by monsters into the forest from which no one has ever returned.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 185118
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/15)
School Library Journal (04/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2015 Gr 6 Up—In the Ikkuma Pit, the Brothers stick together and look out for each other in a world with no mothers (or women in general) and it takes everything they have to survive. When their Leaving Day arrives, they go out into the world, never to return, and another young boy mysteriously appears to replace them. Urgle is a young man trying to keep himself and his "little brother" Cubby alive. He is suspicious about the outside world, and he is equally suspicious of Blaze, a Brother who has returned to the Ikkuma Pit after leaving. Blaze speaks of monsters who chased him over the wall and back into the Pit. When those same monsters kidnap Cubby and drag him into the outside world, Urgle, along with an unlikely group of Ikkuma brothers, embark on a journey to rescue Cubby and eventually find out what is waiting for them in the outside world. McIsaac's debut fantasy novel is fast-paced and heartstopping. Her world is fully formed (although it does take a while before the parameters of this universe truly comes into focus). The characters are fleshed out and feel authentic. This is a great stepping stone for those tweens looking for a postapocalyptic novel without diving head first into the violence and social mores of similar YA titles. There is a hint of romance, appropriate for the intended audience. VERDICT This self-contained story is an entertaining read that will be enjoyed by many.—Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2015 The Ikkuma Pit, sheltered from the outside world, is hot and filled with lava pots. It’s where Mothers leave their baby sons and where Brothers grow up hating the Mothers who abandoned them. When a Brother turns 16, he takes his Leaving. That’s the first time a boy ventures out of the Pit and into the unknown world. Urgle, nearing his Leaving time, isn’t ready. Being ill-equipped in hunting and tracking, his nickname, “Useless,” is one he’s heard for so long that he believes it. But when his Little Brother Cubby is stolen by an outside creature, Urgle, along with two of the Brothers and the only Brother ever to have returned to the Pit, sets out to find the child. They are repeatedly tested in their skills and their beliefs, selflessly fighting for those they love. Although their quest may sound familiar, the difference is the setup and how the boys’ prejudices are challenged by people along the way, some of whom they never wanted to meet. Fans of Rick Riordan and Anthony Horowitz will want to read this action-filled debut novel that offers a new world to enjoy and a new underdog to root for. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 The boys in the pit know about mothers, but they have grown up without them or any other adult care. Their mentoring system keeps the youngest boys alive and the oldest ones busy until they turn sixteen and leave to face an unknown outside world. Urgle has a younger kid in his care, Cubby, and all of Urgle’s usual insecurities and small concerns fly out the window when Cubby is kidnapped and will almost certainly die if Urgle doesn’t leave the Pit to save him. This is a daunting task as Urgle is young, unprepared, and absolutely ignorant of the politics that have driven the dystopian world above. The pit boys are not always easy to like, having passed down generations of rough treatment, distance, and fear-based instruction, but they do inspire deep sympathy and curiosity. The politics of how this all came to be, with infant sons being left in a pit by apparently healthy mothers, are presented in sometimes awkwardly long conversations; however, the why isn’t nearly as much the point as the world the boys have made and what happens when its delicate balance is upended. Contemplative readers will be left with questions to ponder and ethical decisions to mull as well as a satisfying and tense read. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.