On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.
Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.
The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.
*Digital galley provided by Green Leaf Book Group for an honest review*
Scrap turned out to be an unexpected dislike for me. The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis had be barreling into the first few pages of the book, but almost half way through the novel I found that there was too much going on in the book for my tastes. Street rats, a missing princess, killing of a Queen, cruel kings, poverty, Blackcoats, a missing Duchess, friends gone missing, Tucker turned missing Duchess, proper form and etiquette, life in the rich lane, enchanted jewelry, magic, gypsies, almost-rape scenes–Scrap harbored it all up until the point that I decided to stop reading.
The beginning of the book really caught my attention. A street rat trying to figure out her life sounded like a fun plot in my eyes. I liked Tucker before Vivian, the eternally young lady who swept Tucker out of the destitute life in order to scam the royals that the baby girl who was supposed to be dead and gone was just lurking around an orphanage and stealing bread, came along, she was edgy and cunning. When Tucker was thrown into the lap of luxury, I felt no character being developed, but rather an entirely different and bland character in the making. She had gone from knowing no manors at all, stealing and fighting to survive on the streets from such a young age to swiftly becoming this respondent and proper young woman with such gracious manors. Wouldn’t she feel the culture shock? Miss the urge to pickpocket? Where does a girl who has grown up with no manors at all all of a sudden place them on the table like she was dealing out cards? I just couldn’t believe it, it was a complete character pitfall. It was a complete 180 degrees from well concocted potion to entirely dull glass of water. Tucker went from an actual character to a complete disappointment.
Not to mention I had been reading for almost half a novel with no idea where the plot was leading me or what any of Vivian’s plans were supposed to be, or who this young and eternal woman was besides the fact that she is a family friend of Tucker’s mother and that she cannot reveal any secrets. We know Tucker’s friends have ran away, and I thought that maybe Tucker would have been more thorough in trying to search for them rather than constantly recollecting on past memories or their personalities or likes and dislikes while she is in this grand home learning to be a fallacy of a lost duchess named Celeste. She was looking for ideas of why she was abandoned in this orphanage, but where was it going with this complete acceptance into this royal, prestigious family as the fake Celeste? I had a hunch as to who Tucker might be, even the synopsis gives it away:
“[. . .] it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.”
I don’t even need to read the end and I already possibly know who Tucker is supposed to be and what she is supposed to do for the kingdom of Grimmic. The story is so simplistic, but the accumulation of all these details and garnishes try to hid away that simplicity but rather just make it completely clustered of a read and uninteresting all the same.
If there was a more concise plot line and dynamic within the world of Grimmic I would have enjoyed the tale. The on the account that there was so much going on in this one novel, even before I could make it to the very end, just overwhelmed me and ended up having me lose interest. There could have been something going for Scrap if there was a clearer and more dominant character development and stricter plot elements not draped with unnecessary detail and events.
Final Summation: Unfortunately, Scrap was a DNF for me. I found myself uninterested in the story by the halfway mark, fell out of love with Tucker once she was no longer considering herself a street rat but more of a poised elite member of the kingdom, and found that too much was being draped around the plot of the story for me to want to continue. Sadly, this was not the book for me.
First Line: “People of Grimmic, I stand before you, condemned and prepared to die a traitor.”