Title: Billy Thunder and the Night Gate
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Gateway Trilogy #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Family, Fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 10th – 15th May 2020
Publisher: Puffin Books
5th sentence, 74th page: Covering it over, she thought is was much better in sotires, where no one ever seemd to have to go to the toilet or eat or bathe.
Rage Winnoway’s mother has been asleep since she had a terrible accident. In a quest to find healing magick, Rage and her animal friends travel through a strange gateway to Valley, a land of mythical beasts, talking dogs and streets that change shape.
But Valley is no paradise. Harsh guardians rule a sinister black city, and fugitive witch folk work forbidden magick.
Rage desperately wants to go home, but the one person who can help her, a wizard, has disappeared. Her only guides are the treacherous firecat and an enchanted hourglass…
I first read this book when I was a lot younger. And it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of picking it up. But now that I have… wow. It’s just as good as I remember. I picked up so many new nuances and moments throughout. And, having had the pleasure of actually talking to the author for an interview once, I can also see a bit more of her personality through the pages. All of which I found exceedingly pleasurable and wonderful. Fun and still impossible to put down, even if I did know exactly what was going to happen…
As a child, I related a lot to Rage and her loneliness. That, and her extreme attachment to her dogs. As an adult, I really haven’t changed. I still feel like I don’t quite belong with the rest of my friends, and don’t actually have that many friends. And I have a super strong connection to my dogs. The main difference between then and now? I’m happy with that reality. I have managed to collect a few true friends that I enjoy spending my time with… and the rest of it? I’m more than happy in the pages of a great book like this with my dogs fighting for primo-lap space.
One of the things that I have always found characterises Carmody’s writing is the use of a message in her writing. In the case of this novel, it is that sometimes rules aren’t that good. Sometimes you need to break the rules and stand up for yourself if the situation asks for it. The other message is about love and family. Not leaving those you love behind and staying loyal and true to those whom you love. Both are integral, unforgettable aspects of this storyline and you walk away feeling like being yourself is enough. And that you should always try to stick around for the ones that you love.
There is nothing so good as returning to a well-loved story from your childhood. Except, maybe, returning to a well-loved story from your childhood and discovering that you love it just as much as an adult. After all, it can be a little crushing when your memories don’t quite hold up to the reality. That is certainly not the case for this novel. Whether your young or old, male or female, if you like fantasy… you’ll love this.
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