Beck Phillips has had a rough life. His dad left him when he was too young to remember him, he moves around a lot, and there’s something not quite right with his mom. But when his mother dies, he is taken to his uncle’s, who he never knew existed. Things get even stranger as he’s warned to keep out of locked rooms and away from the back of the mansion. Plants seem to obey his every command. And oh right, did I mention the dragons? Beck quickly discovers that his family has a not so pleasant history filled with a number of secrets that he is about to uncover. Secrets that could destroy many lives.
Having really enjoyed the Leven Thumps series, I decided to check out Pillage, book one of the new trilogy he is writing. (Well, this book is from 2008 and the second book, Choke, just came out, but relatively new, anyway.) There were some things I really liked about it. For one thing, because it was in first person, there was none (or almost none) of the annoying interruptions in the story to tell us facts of life that anyone with half a brain knows anyway. The downside to the first person narrative was that it came off as less sophisticated because the character was pretty juvenile.
The one thing he does not lack is the constant surprises and plot twists. I felt like I never quite knew where he was going with things. He does a good job of tricking you into thinking one thing and then showing you something else instead.
The biggest downside of the book for me was how long it took to really get to the heart of the story. It dragged on for far too long with day to day things, at least for my taste. I understand that he was discovering things and we were meant to learn with him, but really, couldn’t he have learned a bit faster? A good example of this issue would be the fact that the characters often went exploring but decided to stop after only a little while to avoid being caught or to go to bed, etc. I would have preferred much more of it to happen all at once, that way the really exciting stuff could begin. But maybe that’s just me.
I do think I’ll check out Choke, though I can’t imagine where exactly it will go from here. (I do have an inkling though and I’d guess it has something to do with plants.)