Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mistmantle Chronicles: Book One – Urchin of the Riding Stars

The Mistmantle Chronicles: Book One – Urchin of the Riding Stars

M.I. McAllister
Illustrator:  Omar Rayyan 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Hyperion, 2005   ISBN: 978-0786854868

Urchin the squirrel had a very dramatic arrival on the island of Mistmantle. When he was just a few hours old his mother died and he was snatched up by a bird of prey. The bird then dropped the tiny scrap of life into the sea from which he was rescued by Crispin and Brother Fir. It was the night of Riding Stars and it was almost as if the baby squirrel had fallen from the stars themselves.

Now Urchin is ready to take on the duties of an adult and he is delighted when Crispin, now a Captain serving King Brushen, asks Urchin to become a page. To be a page for Captain Crispin serving in the great tower of Mistmantle – truly it is as if all his dreams have come true.

Urchin barely has time to enjoy his new position before everything is turned upside down and great trouble comes to Mistmantle. Young prince Tumble is murdered and before anyone has a chance to catch their breath Captain Crispin is banished from the island. Urchin and his new master soon discover that there is a truly evil plot brewing, one which aims to get rid of the king and queen and which threatens to undermine everything the Mistmantle creatures hold dear.

This gripping adventure tale which is threaded with magic, legend, and mysteries, will enthrall readers who enjoy fantasy novels. This first installment in what promises to be a highly successful series, is well crafted, perfectly paced and though its characters are all animals, they are credible and full of life.