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We listened to the audio and it was very enjoyable. The target audience for this book feels like a moving target. Young enough to appreciate talking rodents, well-read enough to be familiar with Merlin and Excalibur, and old enough to follow a complicated plot that has the Merlin-like squirrel working with evil sewer rats and other enemies in a type of double-cross with a motive to ensure his fortune for the rest of his life. This book reminded me a bit of "George of the Jungle", early in the movie when the narrator says that nobody dies in the movie, they just get really, really hurt.
Aramis is also double-crossing - which is discovered when he is summoned and arrives too quickly. Turns out he had been in the neighborhood orchestrating an attack on the rats he was supposedly aligned with. I found this confusing because we never even got a hint during the attack that Aramis had been there. I even went back and scanned the attack section and didn't see his name. For the young reader, I think it would've been important to write in a hint. There is also something about Salaman the villain turning out to be two double crossers. I didn't understand why two. Aramis wants to be king and thought he would have Salaman demand it, including marrying the princess. (p. 130) Also on that page Joey is speaking to Aramis and says Aramis saved Yislene from black claw only to keep her alive for his plan. Again - I dont' know when Aramis saved her because he wasn't in the scene when Yislene got saved.
A mother-figure calls a main character "little dunce" and slaps him while some of her babies are, "stuck to her chest, drinking". (p. 32) On page 33 the names "dung-for-brains" and "half-wit" are used. Obviously the book is a play on Excalibur and there is some talk of magic. In Chapter 21 (p. 87) there is a nice explanation of how magic happens. On page 114 one rat says to another, "Will you shut up?" At the end (p. 159), when I heard Gondorff was back I didn't understand how. But when I read the scene I understood that he became alive again because Joey's mom had cried when she threw him in the trash and that was a kind of magic but, as Gondorff explained, "They never know when they're using it." One finaly concern, maybe for some, on page 168 when Patrick got a can of beer when he got home.
Round 1 Questions
Round 2 Questions