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The Luck Uglies

1, Luck Uglies

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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. 

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 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.

Customer Reviews

Great story - exceptionally well written.

The Luck Uglies is a fun story and really well written. The vocabulary and writing style is much better than most young adult fiction. I'm looking forward to more stories from Mr. Durham.

Review: The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham

It's been a while since a book pulled me through itself as rapidly as Paul Durham's The Luck Uglies. Lately, I've been reading a lot of material because I felt that I ought to, or needed to know about it, or required it for research. I have been wanted to get to The Luck Uglies since I first spotted Petur Antonsson's wonderful cover, but as time wore on, I was worried that it wouldn't hold up. I needn't have. The book starts beautifully--with a rooftop chase--and it's all uphill from there!

Durham has done a magnificent job constructing the fictional world of Village Drowning and has peopled it with a wonderful cast of characters. 11 year old Rye O'Chanter lives by a set of rhyming rules, rules which don't quite mesh with the law as laid down by Earl Morningwig Longchance. When Rye accidentally breaks one of hers, she has an encounter with a horrifying creature. It seems the Bog Noblins have returned! Unfortunately, the Earl has driven out the only group capable of defeating them, the mysterious and possibly criminal Luck Uglies. Rye sets off to learn about the truth about Luck Uglies, though the answers are closer to home than she could have predicted.

This is a delightful fantasy adventure set in a quasi-medieval village, light on the magic but high on the adventure, that digs deeper than the usual good verses evil dichotomies to ask questions about the nature of monsters and outcasts. The world building is top notch, the pace brisk, the balance of humor and tension perfect, and the pay off most satisfying. If I have any quibbles, they're not worth sharing. It's been too long since I enjoyed a work this much. Highly recommended for kids and adults alike. I started my son on it the day after I finished, and he loves it as well! I preordered The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers immediately upon reading THE END. It can't get here soon enough.

The Luck Uglies
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  • $6.99
  • Level: Grades 3-7
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fantasy
  • Published: Apr 29, 2014
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: 1, Luck Uglies
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings