by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Unnaturals : The Battle Begins, by Devon Hughes. Illustrated by Owen Richardson.
NYC, HarperCollins Publishers/Katherine Tegen Books, October 2015, hardcover $16.99 ( + 335 [+ 4] pages), Kindle $9.99.
Unnaturals (the animals in the story are called “the Unnaturals”) is a fantasy-adventure series for 8- to 12-year-old readers; grades 3 to 7. The standard formula is to produce 4 or 5 annual serialized novels, each up to the last ending on a minor conclusion and cliffhanger leading to the next.
The futuristic city of Lion’s Head is populated by both humans and feral domestic animals; in this case, dogs. The story starts with two dogs of one alley pack, Castor and his brother Runt. The pack is led by the brutal Alpha. Castor and Runt have a German shepherd mother and a Mexican wolf father. Since this is a fantasy, the animals can converse intelligently in “animal talk”.
“The brothers ran together, matching step for step, breath for breath. The farther they went into the city, the taller and more packed together the black glass towers grew. The domed walkways that ran between them crisscrossed until they blocked out every last bit of sun. It was never dark, though – every side of every building flashed dozens of lifelike images each minute: political nonsense and Lion’s Head news. Pictures selling things that glittered and things that glowed and things that promised to change your life. Humans like you never saw them in real life – with faces three stories tall instead of tiny dots, sitting outside, grinning up at the sun with exposed pink and brown flesh, looking like they weren’t afraid of all the things crawling up their upturned noses through the air. Read the rest of this entry »