Jinks returns to Victorian London’s fetid stews and ragged demimonde in this sequel to How to Catch a Bogle (2013).
Continuing to depict her setting in Dickensian detail, the author shifts her tale’s main focus from young bogler Birdie to ex-thief Jem Barbary. He struggles to reconcile conflicting drives to find and exact revenge on his treacherous former fagin Sarah Pickles and to chivvy weary old bogle-killer Alfred Bunce out of retirement in order to become his new apprentice. Something, as it eventually develops, is drawing the deadly, child-eating bogles—formerly so rare as to be widely believed to be mythical—to concentrate in one particular neighborhood’s sewers and cellars. Scary as the monsters are, and despite several narrow squeaks, luring them out and killing them with Alfred’s magical spear takes on a routine air as Jem’s warring agendas and stubborn refusal to believe that he has any true friends take center stage. Moreover, Josiah Lubbock, a promisingly irritating new character, is continually trotted out but then goes on to play no significant role (at least in this episode), and despite the author’s efforts to relegate the previous volume’s vivid, angelic-voiced protagonist Birdie to a supporting role, she continues to outshine Jem and everyone else.
Hints at the end of a larger story arc notwithstanding, this continuation never develops much steam or clear direction. (glossary of monsters and period slang) (Historical fantasy. 10-13)