Urchin of the Riding Stars by M.I. McAllister

I just realized I am three books behind on my reviews.  Oops.  It has been an interesting month, though, especially over the couple of days.  I am sure that will come up in future posts, though.

This is a series I discovered while wandering about Amazon.com around Christmas.  I was looking for books to spend my gift certificates on, and stumbled across this.  At first glance, I figured the books got a good deal of inspiration from Brian Jacques series.  There are animal species common to both series:  squirrels, moles, otters, and hedgehogs.  Most of the time in Jacques' series, though, these are good creatures.  That is not as true in McAllister's books.

The story revolves around a young squirrel named Urchin, who was discovered half drowned on beach of Mistmantle  Island during a night of shooting stars.  The newborn squirrel's mother is nowhere to be found, though the prologue reveals she died giving birth to her son and was carried away by the sea.  Mistmantle is named for the shroud of mist that shrouds and protects the island.  It seems to have mystical properties, too, because few can get through it to Mistmantle.

Urchin is appointed as a page to Captain Crispin, the squirrel who found him and a servant to King Brushen and Queen Spindle, both hedgehogs.  Shortly after his arrival at Mistmantle Tower, the heir to the throne is found murdered.  During the turmoil that follows, Captain Crispin is accused of committing the murder during a sabotaged ritual and exiled from the island.  Urchin must now help his new mentor, the otter Captain Padra, find enough evidence to condemn the scheming squirrel Captain Husk and his bride, Lady Aspen.

I found this to be an interesting read, though the intended audience is obviously considerably younger than me.  I finished the book within a few hours.  Overall, I am pleased I found this series.

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About emeree

I am an Air Force veteran. I served as a Security Forces troop for nearly seven years and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant before separating in 2008. My tours of duty were in England and Oklahoma. I live in the Seattle area, which is where I grew up. I used my GI Bill and earned a degree from the University of Washington. I currently work in downtown Seattle and experience all the adventure that comes with that.
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