Elliott, Patricia. Ambergate. Little, Brown, 2007. ISBN 9780316010603. $16.99. 390 p.
Reviewer: Reynolds, Kate
Reading Level: Young adult
Rating: Significant shortcomings
Subject: Orphans--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
Orphan 102, otherwise known as Scuff, finds herself on the run when soldiers come
searching for her. As she stumbles from one incident to another she collects a motley assortment
of friends and enemies.
Though Ambergate has an intriguing beginning, it only sets up for disappointment. Scuff
is a well written character, but most characters surrounding her seem incomplete and one
dimensional. The character Chance seems interesting and well-rounded until late in the book
when his actions and motivations become inconsistent with his previous characterization with
almost no explanation. The narrative constantly switches from Scuff's first-person telling to a
third-person omniscient voice for other characters, which makes for a choppy story.
Just about the only interesting thing in the book is the fact that Scuff is wanted not for the
crime she thinks she is condemned for, but for being the illegitimate child of the Lord Protector's
late wife--but this detail gets lost in the hustle and turns out to be a very minor plot point. The
climax is set very close to the end and there is no resolution, giving the feeling that the story just
trails off into nothing. Obviously it sets itself up for a sequel, but with the dubious merits of this
book, it doesn't have much to recommend for itself.
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