Placement in Series: 1/?
Author: Emory Sharplin
On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.
Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.
The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.
As an avid fantasy lover, I was excited when I stumbled upon this book on netgalley, and after reading the description, requested it immediately. I loved Morgan Rhodes' YA debut Falling Kingdoms, and am a fan of all of Tamora Pierce's works, so this book is right up my alley. Of course, that does not ensure that I will love the book; this only makes it so that the premise sparked my interest. Did the book keep my interest? Solid yes. I loved every second of this book. From the tough character of orphan Tucker (Scrap), to the incredible, complicated (but still very, very interesting) plot, this book had everything I wanted in a fantasy (even magic)!
Tucker Scrap is an orphan. All that was left with her on the orphanage's doorstep was a note pleading that she not be let die. But no one lets Tucker die; she is a fighter, even at her young age of pre-teenager. After the orphanage's caretaker is gone, Tucker takes the place as leader, making sure the other orphans have food to eat by stealing and working at a bakery in town. She takes care of everyone, especially her friend Ash, who is deaf. But when he gets an injury that she cannot take care of and leaves to find help, and her other orphan friend Kally goes missing, Tucker is left alone, wondering where they are, how they are faring, and what happened to them. But she is soon distracted when a mysterious girl not too much older than herself comes to claim her, saying she is an old friend. With this girl, Vivian, comes a lot of mystery that Tucker is determined to solve - for it all involves her. She is just not sure of how much.
I really admired the character of Tucker. She is tough and has a lot of spunk (to survive as long as she did on the streets of a not-so-well-off town in a kingdom run by a ruthless king, she has to be). Not once did I question the loyalty she has to her orphan friends. Before she leaves she gives one the job she had at the bakery, and tries her best to get them sent food and clothes (though the request is denied with an understandable explanation). As for the friends who have gone missing, Tucker never stops thinking of them. She makes new friends (including a character I was quick to love for his joyful attitude and wit - he reminded me of Puck from the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, who I adore, so perhaps that is why), but Ash and Kally are always in the back of her mind.
Although I found one major plot point to be quite obvious - who Tucker really is - I also believe it to have been purposefully obvious. There were many other twists and turns in the plot - especially towards the end - to make up for it.
Scrap was incredibly well-written, which delighted and surprised me when I found out that the author, Emory Sharplin, is still a teenager herself. World-building is hard, but Sharplin delivered it vividly and believably. This is an incredible debut, and I can't wait to read more from her.
Overall, fantastic book! Well-written and clever and full of characters I was quick to love. And I must admit while I semi expected something like that ending would happen, it still blew my mind because my suspicion was only 1/10th of what actually happened. Great read. Cannot wait to read the sequel. I highly recommend, especially if you're a fantasy fan!
Recommended for: Fantasy fans! Especially those who enjoyed Tamora Pierce's quartets and Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms! You will love Tucker (and many other characters) and I guarantee you'll be hooked on her story. I know I am!
There needs to be more books like this! YA is lacking in the epic fantasy department. I'm glad Emory Sharplin's novel delivered.
I'm hoping there will be a lot more buzz surrounding this title - through a little research I discovered not many bookstores will be carrying this title on the day it is released (May 17th, 2013) - in Canada, anyway. So hopefully the word of this great books spreads! The book ended in a way that leaves me strongly craving a sequel. Not to mention the fact that I really want a hard copy of this book!
So if you read and enjoy this book, spread the word. Tell your local bookstores you want it if they don't have it - it's amazing what a little nudge can do to get the title in stock!
Where you can buy this book:
Nowhere - yet!
In the USA:
Barnes and Noble
Internationally/On your e-reader: