Series: Bogle #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 3rd 2013
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If ever a chill entered her soul, or the hope suddenly drained from her heart, she knew a bogle was to blame. Birdie McAdam, a ten-year-old orphan, is tougher than she looks. She's proud of her job as apprentice to Alfred the Bogler, a man who catches monsters for a living. Birdie lures the bogles out of their lairs with her sweet songs, and Alfred kills them before they kill her. On the mean streets of Victorian England, hunting bogles is actually less dangerous work than mudlarking for scraps along the vile river Thames. (See glossary!) Or so it seems—until the orphans of London start to disappear . . .
How to Catch a Bogle is the story of orphan Birdie, apprentice to London’s bogler Alfred, a man who destroys the monsters during the Victorian era. It’s Birdie’s job to lure the monsters out of their lairs so Alfred can kill them. It may seem a dangerous job, but she could be worse off. She feels that way until distinguished Miss Eames comes along to watch the mysterious business of catching and disposing of bogles. Miss Eames tries to convince her to pursue another line of work and even offers her a place to stay and singing lessons as she has such a lovely voice.
When more bogles start appearing in London and more children go missing, Birdie cannot possibly abandon her work and she’s not fully convinced her life should be more than what it is. Who would take care of Alfred if she wasn’t around? Together, Alfred and Birdie must discover who is attempting to control these horrible bogles and why they would do such a thing. It may be one of the most dangerous jobs they’ve taken on.
I really love the setting of Victorian London, especially when adding in a supernatural element. There’s something so wonderful and charming about orphan stories. Birdie is a strong character, who knows she’s better off with Alfred than in a thieving gang or living on the streets fending for herself. She trusts Alfred to keep her safe at all times and they are successful at their jobs. The bogles are varying and terrifying in their own manner. I was always on edge when they went on a job, waiting for something horrific to happen.
How to Catch a Bogle is clever in many ways, and I loved the variety of characters, especially strong female characters. I love seeing characters that are neither villains nor good people and there was so many of those, I really felt immersed in the slums of London during that time period. I’m not sure how this will fare as a series, but I’m excited to see where it is going.