The third volume of the Nightshade Chronicles (Nightshade City, 2010; The White Assassin, 2011) is as entertaining as it is satisfying.
To readers’ surprise and eventual delight, former uber-villain Billycan is the hero of this installment. Released from the control of malevolent and manipulative humans, he atones for his past misdeeds by arriving in Nightshade City just in time to help save it from an evil that has been brewing within. Next, feisty Billycan helps the Nightshade rats track down some of their number who have disappeared, most likely into the clutches of scientists resuming their dreadful experiments. What the brave explorers find will give them answers to many of the questions that have surrounded their existence—namely, what makes these rats superior to others, and what do the humans want from them? There’s not as much character development here as in the earlier books, as this volume is dedicated to unraveling big mysteries and tying up loose ends. In fact, there’s so much going on that if it’s been a while, readers may need to return to the first two volumes to make sense of the overarching narrative strands. But who will mind?
Fast-paced and full of intrigue, this is one fantasy lovers won’t want to miss. (Animal fantasy. 9-12)