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Twilight Robbery / Fly Trap


This is what people have been saying about Twilight Robbery / Fly Trap:

The Sunday Times

"Frances Hardinge won the Branford Boase Award for her richly inventive Fly By Night and Twilight Robbery is its fat, teeming, clever sequel taking up the adventures of 12-year-old Mosca Mye. Con man Eponymous Clent and Mosca's troublesome goose Saracen as they confront the 'night people' in the mysterious city of Toll. Full of phrases to savour, this is a book to reward real readers." ~ Children's round-up, read more

The Sunday Telegraph

"Twilight Robbery has everything: fabulous characters – Mosca, a 'clench-jawed scrap of damp doggedness' with her adult sidekick Eponymous Clent – richly evocative world-building and writing so viscerally good you want to wrap yourself up in it." ~ Dinah Hall, read more

The Guardian

"I really can't recommend Frances Hardinge highly enough, even though her stuff is definitely aimed at kids. She's one of those writers whom I'd give a substantial sum of money to be able to read again for the first time." ~ Imogen Russell Williams, read more

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Another city unwittingly admits the forces of chaos and widespread panic through its gates in this doorstopper sequel to Fly by Night (2006). Those forces being young orphan Mosca Mye (a 'clench-jawed scrap of damp doggedness'), silver-tongued poet/con man/ex-spy Eponymous Clent and Mosca's beloved but psychotic goose Saracen, readers are in for a rare treat. In full flight after having played a significant role in turning the port of Mandelion into an independent city governed by republic-minded 'radicals' in the previous episode, the trio enters the aptly named town of Toll in hopes of escaping across the only bridge over the mighty Langfeather River. Escalating complications rapidly ensue as Mye and Clent discover to their horror that they're trapped within the secure walls of a town that's being taken over by the sinister Locksmith Guild. Toll is a thoroughly dysfunctional town, in which the streets are literally rearranged every dawn and dusk to underline a sharp separation between the smug and prosperous daytime population and the despised, fear-plagued nighttime one. Hardinge once again creates a strange original society that reflects our own in provocative ways. She also has a gift for well-turned prose and shows a sure hand in crafting suspenseful plots. Readers will be thrilled she again gives this winning trio a chance to show their better natures while surviving (often causing) trickery, betrayal, fires, riots and social upheaval. (Alternate world fantasy. 11–13)" ~ read more

The Horn Book

"With prodigious talent and fertile imagination, Hardinge returns to the world of her first novel, Fly by Night, for a satisfying sequel. Three months have passed since the strange affairs in the city of Mandelion. With con-man companion Eponymous Clent now in debtor’s prison, young Mosca Mye tries to finagle his release. Eventually, the duo find themselves in Toll, a curious town with separate societies—one diurnal, the other nocturnal—and a strategic location that provides the sole bridge across an otherwise uncrossable river. The labyrinthine plotting, a Hardinge trademark, includes a couple of old villains, several new ones, no less than four kidnappings, a handful of double crosses, and numerous reversals of fortune. The leisurely pacing allows Hardinge to plant various clues and red herrings, flesh out the elaborate cast of characters, revel in language and wordplay, and bring the setting (vaguely reminiscent of Europe during the early modern era) vividly to life—all with a Dickensian flair. Hours of sustained pleasure reading await the patient reader." ~ Jonathan Hunt

Books for Keeps

"This sequel to Frances Hardinge’s rich and rumbustious debut, Fly By Night, reunites us with the rag-tag and engaging heroine, Mosca Mye; her goose of uncertain temper, Saracen, and her employer of sorts, Eponymous Clent. Three months later, and the weeks since they left Mandelion have not been kind to the trio. It is winter, purses are empty and Mosca has used up the last of her patience with her human travelling companion who now languishes in a country debtor’s prison. She attempts to earn a few coins by hawking her uncommon ability to read (‘Oi! Gentlemen! Read the paper for you?’), but her skill lands her in hot water when she is kidnapped by a ruthless gang, whose leader needs some documentation deciphered by a dispensable slave. More dark deeds follow in the town of Toll, whose daytime and night-time populations live in sinister co-existence under a harsh regime which rules that never the twain shall meet.
"Hardinge’s singular way with words is, for me, the most enjoyable aspect of this novel. Like its predecessor, it is chock-full of arresting names and phrases conjured by a real wordsmith: eyes ‘as cold and colourless as midwinter slush’; a gaze that ‘sweeps like a soft-haired brush’; a mayor who emits sounds ‘like a man gargling with starlings’. The story itself is perhaps less tightly realised than in Fly By Night, and, for this adult at any rate, occasionally hard to follow. And though Toll is vividly drawn and peopled, I had a sneaking yen to return to Mandelion and all its teaming anarchy. But these are trifling negatives. All in all, it’s thoroughly enjoyable sauce: for the goose, the gander and pretty much anyone else besides." ~ Caroline Sanderson, read more

Publishers' Weekly

"In this exciting sequel to Fly by Night (2006), Hardinge's feisty heroine, Mosca Mye; her con-man companion, Eponymous Clent; and her fierce goose, Saracen, are on the run from the city of Mandelion, where they've helped foment a revolution. They become trapped in the wealthy town of Toll, and Mosca is soon exiled to Toll-by-Night, the very different and dangerous place that the town transforms into after dark. Meanwhile, she and her companions must deal with a complex plot to kidnap the Mayor's universally loved daughter, Beamabeth, while avoiding the dangerous Goshawk, ruler of the deadly Locksmiths, who wants her dead for her activities in Mandelion. Crammed with eccentric, Dickensian characters, unexpected plot turns, and numerous very niche gods and goddesses (such as Goodlady Emberleather, She Who Prevents the Meat from Becoming Chewy and Unwholesome, or Goodman Belubble, He Who Snuffs the Last Candle Before Sleep), Hardinge's world is rich enough to fuel two or three fantasy novels. It's a beautifully written tale, by turns humorous and heartbreaking and a sheer pleasure to read. Ages 10–up." ~ read more

The Bookbag

"Mosca and her companions will be familiar to readers of Fly By Night, but it is in no way necessary to have read the first volume of her adventures to thoroughly enjoy this book. She is a twelve-year-old orphan, who travels the roads with her homicidal goose, and a rather shifty poet called, charmingly, Eponymous Clent. We meet them just after a particularly energetic display of destruction by the said goose: Eponymous has been thrown into jail until he can pay for the damage, and Mosca is trying to raise some cash by reading aloud an old newspaper to illiterate townsfolk.
"This skill will get her into terrible trouble, proving, incidentally, that all that stuff about education being good for you is at best a questionable premise. She eludes serious injury or death with her usual aplomb, and the three travellers set out for the lands across the river, where their scams and misdemeanours are less well known. But this is where things get really sticky. The only way across the river is through the bridge town of Toll, a bizarre place which contains two populations. All those born in daylight hours are allowed to enjoy the many delights of the place from sunrise to sunset. But come twilight, they are locked into their homes, and the cursed creatures who had the bad taste to be born at night, (and who must be, therefore, murders, thieves and radicals according to the Toll way of thinking), are granted free rein. Or are they? Who are the shadowy people who really rule the town? And why is it that people have to pay to enter Toll – and pay again to get out?
"Frances Hardinge has an enviable flair for world-building. Every detail of her creation fits together with a charming and lunatic logic, providing the reader with a confection of social mores, religion, politics, law and power. But there is nothing dry or dull about it: Ms Hardinge's touch is light and humorous, and there is fun aplenty to be had alongside the spooky midnight trysts, ruthless villains and deadly peril. Saracen the goose, for example, is a joy to encounter, particularly in his fierce loyalty to his mistress and his determination to maim or eat (preferably both) anyone or anything he terms as 'non-Mosca'. Reversals and revelations abound. Young lovers, as blind and silly as lovers can ever be, are divided by the tragedy of their names, and there is a whole story, barely hinted at, behind the mystery of the two musicians who play five instruments. Fair maids simper elegantly, gentlemen posture and make hopelessly dramatic gestures, and all the while Mosca lies and wheedles and eavesdrops to ensure a happy outcome.
"Mosca is a splendid creation, and the book is worth reading just to meet her. She is wily, resourceful and courageous, and she will take extraordinary risks. But unlike many heroes she has depth, and we see just how scared and hungry and weary she can get as she creeps about the darkened town, or flees for her life from terrifying creatures. She is perceptive, too, able to judge when to bully and when to cajole, but all the while her private thoughts give us a down-to-earth and often comic commentary on events. It is cruel to say so, but readers will hope she gets into a ton more trouble on her travels, just so we can have the pleasure of meeting her again.
"This excellent book feels fast-paced, and there is a lot of action in its 500 pages. But in fact the reader soon becomes aware that Ms Hardinge is having a lot of fun playing with language, as descriptions, wry asides and colourful examples of thieves' cant cram the pages. This makes reading the book a rich and satisfying experience, and we look forward impatiently to further accounts of Mosca's adventures." ~ read more

School Library Journal

Independent orphan Mosca Mye; the con man Eponymous Clent; and Mosca’s violent goose, Saracen, are back in this sequel to Fly by Night (HarperCollins, 2006). The trio is trying to find a new home after being forced to leave Mandelion at the end of their first adventure, and their travels bring them to Toll, where they need to raise funds to leave the city and cross its bridge. They quickly become involved in the local intrigue, which juxtaposes Toll’s innocent daytime appearance with its alter ego, Toll-by-Night. Mosca’s world features a variety of divinities, each ruling over a brief period of time each year, and Toll’s residents are fated to be part of the day or night cities depending on when they were born. At the center of many plots is the beautiful daughter of Toll’s mayor, and her kidnapping leads to danger and encounters with the threatening and dangerous Locksmiths. When Mosca is exiled to Toll-by-Night, she needs to find allies and put together the pieces to locate the missing Beamabeth, defeat the Locksmiths, and change the future of Toll itself. Hardinge has once again created an intricate world, and she uses the town’s dual nature to focus on people’s perceptions of others. Mosca’s spirit and heart bring the story together and make her actions totally believable. Fly Trap’s action and drama are balanced with humor, often presented through the flamboyant Clent and Saracen, as well as through the names and duties of the divinities. This is another high-quality, thought-provoking fantastic adventure that will keep readers’ interest in spite of its length. ~ Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

Canberra Times

Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge, a sequel to her best-selling Fly By Night (2006), is another delightful fantasy, featuring an orphan girl Mosca, a poet cum con man and a psychotic goose. The trio, on the run, enter the dysfunctional town of Toll and become embroiled in stopping a plot to kidnap the Mayor's beautiful daughter. Twilight Robbery is packed with eccentric Dickensian-type characters and is recounted in a style that is almost Pratchettian. Fantasy humour is in good hands with Hardinge. ~ Colin Steele

Bookbrowse – Editor's Choice

"In a story of non-stop action and incident, Frances Hardinge magically manages to fill in the back-story of Fly By Night, to which this is a sequel, and explain the religion of Beloveds, the politics of Toll, and the dastardly goals of the evil Locksmiths. Her description of how Toll-by-Day becomes Toll-by-Night rivals the writing of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville." ~ Judy Krueger, read more

Voya (starred review)

"What's in a name? Twelve-year-old orphan Mosca Mye is about to find out in this stand-alone sequel to Fly by Night (Macmillan, 2006/VOYA October 2006). Besides being named for a god who "keeps flies out of jams and butter churns," she also possesses the highly uncommon gift for reading in a realm where books are used for kindle. Broke and displaced after a revolutionary escapade at home, Mosca, along with her questionable companions — the metrical Eponymous Clent and the deranged, nose-pinching goose Saracen — get tangled up in a kidnapping plot, leading the trio into Toll. This city is built on a ledge, accessible only by a bridge over treacherous waters. A paid fee permits your entrance and exit to Toll, and your birth name determines if you will ever see the light of day. This unlucky situation takes its toll on Mosca in her quest to make some coin and attempt to save some severely oppressed townspeople, while learning the secret history of this supremely superstitious town and the sinister, though familiar, driving force behind it.
Fly by Night ends with Hardinge's unlikely heroine proclaiming, "I don't want a happy ending, I want more story." Readers can look forward to a great story in this exceptionally clever novel, rich in descriptive language with colorful, quick-witted characters to match, where they will feel as if they are being transported into this topsy-turvy realm with epic flair. Fans of the imaginative will enjoy this inventive, adventurous tale, regardless of its size (long, at 584 pages)." ~ Tanya Paglia, read more

Young Post (South China Morning Post), Hong Kong

"Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye and her travelling companion, a not-quite-trustworthy poet with the amazing name of Eponymous Clent, are in deep trouble. They have arrived in the little farming town of Grabely, and everything that could possibly go wrong has done so. Clent has been thrown into jail, Mosca's lethal pet goose has gone berserk, leaving a terrible trail of damage behind him, and Mosca herself hasn't a clue how to right things.
But she has one thing that the residents of the backwater Grabely don't have. She is the only person in town who can read. She earns a bit of money by reading notices to the illiterate townsfolk.
One night, she is kidnapped and forced to read a mysterious letter to a very unsavoury character called Skellow. The letter is about a plan to abduct the daughter of the mayor of the neighbouring town of Toll. Mosca manages to get away from Skellow and decides to travel to Toll and warn the mayor of the plot. The wily girl sees money to be made in this situation that has dropped by chance into her hands.
But Toll turns out to be an even weirder place. In fact it is two places, Toll-by-day and Toll-by-night. All the residents born in the day are allowed to live their lives between sunrise and sunset. When darkness descends, they are locked in their homes. Those born during the night can live only in Toll-by-night, a dangerous and lawless place.
Who are the shadowy figures that keep the two populations apart? Who are the true rulers of Toll, and why is the town divided?
The twin set-up of the kidnap plot and the true nature of Toll are rich plot devices that Frances Hardinge exploits to excellent effect in her fantasy novel. She has a wonderful talent for creating grimy and weird worlds. Every detail of Mosca's surroundings and life is spot on and totally believable. Hardinge throws religion, social behaviour, politics and law into the mix, and it all fits together like an intriguing jigsaw.
Twilight Robbery is a slab of a book, coming in at more than 500 pages, but the vivid imagination, off-balance sense of humour and entertaining style of writing make Mosca's story a rich read that you can really sink your teeth into. The characters are lively and the action is fast-paced and relentless.
Then there is the character of Mosca herself. She is no goody-goody; trouble follows her wherever she goes. Mosca is one of the strongest characters in youth fiction – independent, courageous and entertaining, with appeal to both young male and female readers. Disaster piles up around her, but her resourceful character usually sees her come out on top. She comes alive in Hardinge's inventive hands.
Hardinge obviously had fun with her characters, settings and plot. This is one of those rare novels that you read with a smile of satisfaction constantly plastered on your lips." ~ John Millen, read more

Kirkus Reviews

"During daytime, Toll is inhabited by well-behaved citizens who cease to exist at dusk, when the villainous citizens of Toll-by-Night come into existence. This divide is based on the type of name a citizen has, and those names depend on the time of day each person is born, and the god that rules that particular hour. In this world, your name defines who you are… But nothing is as straightforward as it seems in Hardinge’s worlds, and as each story progresses so do the ideas that permeate them. As such, the citizens of Twilight Robbery’s Toll do not cease to exist at dusk or dawn–and being defined by the name one is called is naught but arbitrary profiling." ~ Ana Grilo, read more

Paper Boats

"[T]he book is full of action-packed hijinks right from the first chapter where Mosca gets kidnapped. It also features strong new characters and a wonderfully detailed and intricate plot. Throughout the book, the pair just keeps falling from the frying pan to the fire and back again. Both have the tendency to lie, cheat and steal without batting an eyelash but they’re also in possession of an uncomfortable conscience and sense of loyalty. Hardinge also subtly peppers the narrative with situations and characters that don’t sit quite right with the reader and reveals red herrings and Macguffins right when you think the loose ends are all tied up. The book has its share of ludicrous situations (which I love) and clever subplots. Hardinge has a knack for creating highly imaginative worlds with its own absurd laws that somehow seem perfectly acceptable." ~ read more

British Fantasy Society

"The absolute jewel in the crown of Hardinge’s writing is that she writes some of the best female characters I’ve ever read. It is so heartening to read genuine, engaging, sometimes villainous, and always complex characters that are not male, and I love that these kinds of characters are around to push back against the seemingly endless tide of insipid, dull-brained submissive handmaids so prevalent in much teen and adult fiction." ~ Rebekah Lunt, read more

Book Nut

"It's a complex story, one in which you don't necessarily need to read the first book (though why wouldn't you?) to enjoy. You would think that, being so large, there would be wasted plot points. Not so: everything in the book is there for a reason, all of which will be shown by the end. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle: you may not know how all the pieces fit together, but when they do, the big picture is amazing." ~ Melissa Fox, read more