The Luck Uglies

( 8 )

Overview

The first in a series with the makings of a modern classic, The Luck Uglies is an irresistible cross between Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice and Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.

Rye O'Chanter has seen a lot of strange things happen in Village Drowning: children are chased through the streets. Families are fined for breaking laws that don't even exist. Girls aren't allowed to read anymore, and certain ...

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The Luck Uglies

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Overview

The first in a series with the makings of a modern classic, The Luck Uglies is an irresistible cross between Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice and Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.

Rye O'Chanter has seen a lot of strange things happen in Village Drowning: children are chased through the streets. Families are fined for breaking laws that don't even exist. Girls aren't allowed to read anymore, and certain books—books that hold secrets about Drowning's past—have been outlawed altogether.

Now a terrifying encounter has eleven-year-old Rye convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Before the monsters disappeared, there was only one way to defeat them—the Luck Uglies. But the Luck Uglies have long since been exiled, and there's nobody left who can protect the village.

As Rye dives into Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she begins to question everything she's been told about the village's legend of outlaws and beasts . . . and what she'll discover is that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

This critically acclaimed debut middle grade novel was named an ALA Notable Book and a New York Public Library Title for Reading and Sharing and won the Cybil Award for Middle Grade Speculative Fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/21/2014
In Durham's witty fantasy debut, 11-year-old Rye O'Chanter is bent on mischief with her friends Quinn and Folly. They live in Village Drowning, a muddy place haunted by tales of ravenous Bog Noblins, vicious creatures from Beyond the Shale, and criminal Luck Uglies, outlaw robbers long since driven away by the Earl of Longchance, who holds Drowning in an iron grip. Rye's household offers no respite from the peculiarities of the outside world: her mother enforces a cryptic set of House Rules, Rye's pet cat Shady can't possibly be only a cat, and her father's identity remains unknown to her. When a monster from legend and a tattooed man named Harmless appear, Rye aligns with the blind street rat Truitt and the Earl's unpleasant daughter, Malydia, to help the Luck Uglies save Drowning from dangers without and tyranny within. First in a planned trilogy, this adventure staggers slightly under the weight of its thorny plot turns, but is kept aloft by brisk wordplay, a charming heroine, and a provocative blurring of the border between heroism and villainy. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: Michelle Andelman, Regal Literary. (May)
—Stefan Bachmann
“Funny, magical, and absolutely crackling with those little sparks that make a book wonderful. It’s an action-packed adventure with heroes you’ll root for and baddies you’ll hiss at, all set in a land that I, for one, would love to visit again.”
—Marissa Burt
“Midnight adventures, smart humor, a richly imagined otherworld, and winsome characters—The Luck Uglies has the perfect ingredients for a spell-binding read. If you are lucky enough to pick up this book, prepare for a wild ride!”
—Christopher Healy
“Paul Durham has created the best kind of fantasy world—one that is equal parts wondrous and deadly, and in which the line between heroism and villainy is deliciously blurred.”
—Jonathan Auxier
“A magical, mist-shrouded world humming with danger and mystery.”
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-05
A sparkling middle-grade fantasy opens a trilogy. Rye O'Chanter is a somewhat clumsy 11-year-old who enjoys hijinks with best friends Quinn and Folly on the roofs and lanes of Village Drowning, a dark, medieval-feeling town. It's run by a nasty, self-absorbed earl and surrounded by bogs that have spawned a legend of Bog Noblins—vile beasts who eat unwary villagers and adorn themselves with necklaces made out of said villagers' feet. Many years earlier, a secret society of protectors named Luck Uglies had fought and vanquished the Bog Noblins, and now, neither monsters nor secret society members exist. Or do they? When a real, not-just-legend, Bog Noblin shows up and begins to terrorize Village Drowning, old fears as well as old secrets are resurrected. Debut author Durham spins a tale of intrigue and adventure peopled with characters so individually full of both goodness and flaws that readers will immediately relate. It is this nuance of character that raises the narrative above the trope of a good-vs.-evil storyline and into richer, more layered territory. Durham combines intelligent writing that does not talk down to the intended audience with an innocent charm—a concoction that is sure to captivate readers and make them thankful that this is Book 1 of a trilogy. Layers, nuance, wit and a thumping good story make this a must-read. (Fantasy. 9-13)
Stefan Bachmann
“Funny, magical, and absolutely crackling with those little sparks that make a book wonderful. It’s an action-packed adventure with heroes you’ll root for and baddies you’ll hiss at, all set in a land that I, for one, would love to visit again.”
Marissa Burt
“Midnight adventures, smart humor, a richly imagined otherworld, and winsome characters—The Luck Uglies has the perfect ingredients for a spell-binding read. If you are lucky enough to pick up this book, prepare for a wild ride!”
Joseph Delaney
“The Luck Uglies has it all: a feisty heroine, monstrous creatures, and a brimful of humor, and horror, to keep the readers turning the pages.”
Christopher Healy
“Paul Durham has created the best kind of fantasy world—one that is equal parts wondrous and deadly, and in which the line between heroism and villainy is deliciously blurred.”
Jonathan Auxier
“A magical, mist-shrouded world humming with danger and mystery.”
Booklist (starred review)
“By turns funny and heart-stopping . . . a bona fide page-turner.”
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Enter the village of Drowning, where Bog Nobles once lived. Or do they still? Eleven-year-old Rye lives there with her two good friends, her mother, and her toddler sister. Rye knows no fear and is determined to get to the bottom of the lore of her village, even though doing so is forbidden; in fact, girls are not even supposed to read. Stories of villains and beasts abound, but it is hard to know what is real and what is not. What are the raven-like gargoyles adorning the rooftops? Is the Earl of Longchance the town’s protector or its worst enemy? Who is the man Harmless who is suddenly around? What is his connection to her mother—and to the Luck Uglies? Was it a Bog Noble she encountered that night in the woods? As events unfold, Rye finds herself a captive of the Earl’s, meandering through a maze of underground tunnels and sewers, and risking life and limb to save her family and her town. Durham’s characters, both the young and the old, are crafted with care; they are neither black nor white, but rather each has flaws as well as at least a modicum of goodness. Intrigue, adventure, and subtlety fill the pages. Petur Antonsson’s grey-tone sketches adorn each chapter page and help the reader better understand the creatures and magical objects in the story. A slightly tongue-in-cheek glossary of some Durham’s fanciful words is also helpful. This rip-roaring tale does not come up for a breath, and neither will the reader, who will anxiously await the second book in this trilogy! Reviewer: Peg Glisson; Ages 9 to 13.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 5–7—Eleven-year-old Rye and her best friends, Quinn and Folly, are curious about their town and its history. What really lies beyond Village Drowning's walls in the area known as Beyond the Shale? Do the huge, ravenous monsters known as Bog Noblins actually exist? Are there still avengers known as Luck Uglies? The trio tries to find answers in Tam's Tome, a book banned by the Earl. In their quest for knowledge, the children become accidental thieves and must escape from the Angry Poet. Together with help from her friends, Rye uncovers the village's secrets (and those within her own family), including an underground maze that leads from one end of the village to the other. Confrontations with Bog Noblins bring back the banished and much maligned Luck Uglies to defeat the evil creatures and return justice to Drowning. Rye learns that things aren't always as they seem and that people are not all good or bad but often somewhere in between. Nonstop action makes for a rollicking good tale set in a medieval-like place and period. The fast plot is enhanced by humor, likable characters—including some adults—undiluted heroism, frightful Bog Noblins, and a despicable Earl. Altogether, this is a fast, fresh, and engaging adventure sure to delight readers on several levels.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062271501
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 205,088
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Durham

Paul Durham wrote this book and The Luck Uglies in an abandoned chicken coop at the edge of a swamp. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, two daughters, and an enormous, bushy creature the local animal shelter identified as a cat.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2014

    My Likes About This Book: 1.)It is full of magic with every tur

    My Likes About This Book:

    1.)It is full of magic with every turn of the page.

    2.)The names of the people, places, and things fit them just perfectly with extraordinary whimsy.

    3.)The awestruck feeling I got when I read the first Harry Potter book I got while reading this book. I want to be a Luck Ugly!
     
    My Dislikes About This Book:

    1.)That this story is fictional, lol!
     

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    Excellent story! I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to e

    Excellent story! I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end! Can't wait for the next book in this series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    As the story unfolds you will see in your minds eye, the village

    As the story unfolds you will see in your minds eye, the village, the colorful
     nature of each place, and experience the individual characters personalities. In
     particular, you see a young girl mature beyond her years (Rye) as she
    discovers all the secrets and experiences of a wonderful enchanting adventure.
     Older adults will relate to Rye's mother and to Harmless. You can see the wonder of
     your own children and grandchildren reflected in the characters as they
     guide along their path in the book. Younger readers will envy Rye and her
    friend's adventures. This book has it all, secrets, adventure, unexpected
     heroes, and villains, all colorful characters that you will learn to love.
    Some characters more endearing than others, but all very important to the
     journey. My favorite place in the book, the ..oops almost gave it away. No
    worry, you will have your own.

    I sat reading as if I was watching a movie. It's not about the reading, but rather
     being immersed in the story that the author puts down on paper. That's the
     hallmark of a great book. It draws you in and you don't want to it to end. You will want to read this book more than once. On the second time through I watched as Mr. Durham developed the nuances of the characters and Village Drowning. I can't wait for the second book to see where it takes Rye and her friends and family. Read this book you
    not be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2015

    More than worth giving it a try

    When I read the first chapter I was not hooked. But somewhere along the way I had trouble putting the book down, maybe it was around chapter three, but eventually the story grabbed me pulled me in completely. Even for a middle grade book, I really enjoyed reading it as an adult.

    Quality characters, especially interaction is one thing I look for in a good story. Is it real or over the top. For example they never trust each other not matter how many times they have saved each others lives, because they lied once years ago, or are currently holding the truth back. Or how about the witty character that is constantly dishing out those zingers. In the Luck Uglies, these characters are true to life (well except maybe for Harmless' fighting ability, but he's a hero, I think). Some of the characters are both good and bad. Our hero isn't perfect and some of the "bad people" aren't all bad either. I appreciated the struggle between right and wrong.

    They have secrets, which actually make the story better. Everything is not explained when introduced, but rather gradually over the coarse of the story we learn more and more. On the other hand, no one whines that they are not told everything and no one is harmed by the keeping of the secrets. There is no lofty I know but can't tell you for your own good either. There is no reason to know, except we are know there is more to be known. The author keeps us on the edge of our seat, slowing letting the story unfold and sharing the secrets and bringing us into the lives of those in the story.

    Characters grow in this story. Even though the story takes place over a short period of time, there is talk of how someone changed. We get a small glimpse into how the main character changes at the very end of the book. We also see the struggle of others as they work to do what is right.

    The book is self contained. You don't have to read the second book to find out what happens. The story ends, but you know there will be more adventures and will be anxious to read and learn more about these amazing people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    I loved this book. It has everything: an endearing heroine wit

    I loved this book. It has everything: an endearing heroine with plucky friends, an extraordinary setting, a riveting plot, creepy monsters, good guys, and bad guys. The writing is clever and imaginative, with the most detailed descriptions of people, places, and emotions. The Village of Drowning, with all of its unique features and quirky residents, becomes alive immediately. it's a wonderful story for adults as well as children. The CD is amazing, too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Quirky characters, imaginative dream-like world, we could not pu

    Quirky characters, imaginative dream-like world, we could not put it down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    Three words: Fantastic, fantastic, and fantastico! I'm going thr

    Three words: Fantastic, fantastic, and fantastico! I'm going through a bit of a let down b/c I've finished The Luck Uglies and I didn't want it to end! The characters, the world building, the Bog Noblins, the mother-daughter relationship- all of it was just perfection. Plus, there's rooftop shenanigans, fast friendships, and a secret society that I would give my eye teeth to belong to. Rye is such an amazing character, and I'm looking forward to her continuing her adventures(there better be another one!). ~Leandra Wallace

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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