Fly Trap follows the continuing adventures of Mosca Mye, an orphaned 12-year old who has the rare ability to read, her travelling companion Eponymous Clent, a well-known con-artist, and her homicidal goose, Saracen. They have recently (accidentally) helped cause a revolution in the city of Mandelion and run afoul of the powerful Guilds that control the realm. They’ve been trying to make a living using their conning skills and Mosca’s ability to read, but winter is coming, and they’re not in a comfortable spot. After they accidentally stumble upon a kidnapping plot, they head to the city of Toll hoping to notify the intended victim and earn a reward. Predictably, things don’t end up turning out like they’d hoped and they become embroiled in far larger schemes.
This is another of those books that is labelled “fantasy” simply because it is set in an alternate world, even thought it does not contain any magic. The world is really interesting, though. In the previous book, we learned that every hour and day has its own patron saint or god (called “Beloved”), and a child is named in honour of the reigning deity when he or she was born. This book explores this concept even further. The city of Toll takes these names very seriously, as Mosca and Eponymous soon find out.
Just like Fly by Night, Fly Trap is a self-contained adventure, and I don’t think it’s necessary to read the previous book in order to enjoy this one. A few familiar faces appear, but their appearances and significance are explained.
Mosca and Eponymous are fun protagonists, and their half-antagonistic, half-affectionate relationship is very endearing. I particularly loved the scene where Mosca makes up some choice insults in order to get Eponymous out of trouble, and his reaction to it. Even though both Mosca and Eponymous would deny having a sense of right and wrong, they definitely do – especially when it comes to saving each other from trouble. Saracen was a hoot (or rather, a honk) as always, but I was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t a bit more murderous.
Hardinge is a total delight to read – she loves playing with words, and her descriptions are inventive and charming. I think that she is one of the best young adult writers of today, having also read her The Lost Conspiracy. I don’t think she’s nearly as popular as she should be.
Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge (Fly By Night, #2)
HarperCollins, 2011 | Buy the book