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Is Underground

(The Wolves Chronicles #8)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The irrepressible Twile family is back, and there's mischief afoot in this newest adventure in the celebrated Wolves Chronicles.
Paperback, 242 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Yearling (first published May 14th 1992)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  454 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
I love the Edward Gorey cover. Aiken and Gorey go together perfectly well. Aiken and Gorey sounds like the name of some sort of weird and gothic medical drama, sort of like House, if House investigated talking warts and haemogoblins and phantom limbs where you have an extra pair of hands doing unimaginable things you can feel but not see.

Is, half-sister of Dido, embarks on an adventure all her own, a particularly dark one as the children of London have been lured to the new kingdom set up in the
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy 'The Wolves Chronicles'
This eighth entry in Aiken's Wolves Chronicles (excluding Midnight Is a Place ), is the first of two adventures featuring Dido Twite's younger half-sister, Is. When long-lost cousin Arun goes missing, Is's quest to find him leads her to the northlands, to the breakaway kingdom of Humberland, and the oddly child-free city of Holdernesse (the renamed Blastburn, of earlier titles). Here Is discovers another set of long-lost relatives, and with the help of her newfound psychic abilities, sets out ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, younger
Blastburn is back, and it's badder, blacker, and child-abusinger than ever.

Unfortunately, Is is no Dido Twite. She's probably a better person in some ways, but she's not as entertaining as her wild and mouthy sister. That combined with the grimness of the situation for all the children made this kind of a dark read.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, own
A stand-alone continuation of the Wolves Chronicles, this excellent adventure features Dido Twite's younger half-sister, Is. Since the events of Dido & Pa, Is has settled happily with her older sister Penny. Their tranquil existence is interrupted, however, by a chance encouter with an uncle they never knew they had -- an uncle who, as his dying wish, charges Is to find her missing cousing Arun. Like Dido, Is is tough, resourceful, and honors her promises, so she heads off into the north ...more
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this 8th book in the Willoughby Chase series! Dido's little sister, Is, vows to find her long-lost cousin, and ends up looking for a missing prince too. All the children in London are being snatched up and sent to "Playland", where they are promised treats and games and fun. But the horrible reality is a dark mine where they are forced to work as slaves, and Is has to go underground to continue her search. Is gets unexpected help from some unique and interesting characters, but it is only ...more
lucky little cat
A late entry (#8) in Aiken's fabulous alt-Anglo history Wolves of Willoughby Chase series.

Croopus! The spirit of Jack Wild lives on in Joan Aiken's plucky Cockney waif heroines.

Is (short for Isabella), Dido Twite's younger half-sister, takes over as the plucky Jack Wild-ish Cockney heroine of the series, presumably because Dido's aged out of the role.
This novel has far fewer of the endearing historical details that distinguished the first four novels--no charcoal-burning hermits,
Celeste Ng
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids and wannabe kids
In this book our heroine is Dido's sister (though she feels and acts much like Dido) and the setting is an immense mine where children are forced into labor. Completely immersing and surprisingly complex.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who read
Shelves: ya
It was good and interesting and exciting.
I would now like to read more books by Joan Aiken.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally titled Is, this book took its present title when it was re-published in the U.S. By naming it after its main character Is Twite, younger sister of the illustrious Dido, Joan Aiken ensured the ninth(?) installment in the Wolves Chronicles (after The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea, Nightbirds on Nantucket, The Whispering Mountain, The Stolen Lake, Limbo Lodge a.k.a. Dangerous Games, The Cuckoo Tree and Dido and Pa) would be practically impossible to locate in an ...more
Anthony Faber
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wolves #8. Takes up where "Dido and Pa" left off. Is goes off on her own adventure. I'm noticing that these books are all alike. Plucky youngster gets mixed up in some mischief being done by wealthy, powerful people and puts a stop to it. Pretty well written, but...
Priscilla King
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes wild historical fantasy
At the request of her dying uncle, Isabella "Is" Twite, little sister to Penelope and Dido, confronts her other uncle--the wicked one--and rescues her lost cousin. The fantastic plot here is admittedly based on Joan Aiken's and Jane Aiken Hodge's own childhood imaginings. Abednego Desmond Twite was an unsatisfactory father; his brother Roy is the complete evil capitalist who takes over the whole town of Blastburn, forces all the children to work in mines, and declares himself king of Northern ...more
Elizabeth Brush
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
if I could give this book more than five stars I would. this was my all time favourite book, and I wanted to be best friends with Is and Arun (although not in the mines because I am claustrophobic and also a smol chronically ill person and that would not turn out well). but this book was so delightfully weird and intriguing and mysterious and I still love it so so so much.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of local dialogue to figure out, but a good play off of the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairy tale.
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars
Julie H.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-timeless
Is Underground is the story of a young girl obligated by a deathbed request to investigate the fate of children spirited northward from London on the Playland Express. Sent to work in the mines, pottery, and/or foundry of an underground city, children toil from the age of five to 20 in the mines where "Boys in Playland comes and goes faster than raindrops" (p. 52).

Set in 19th-century England, the story is full of political intrigue, class-warfare, unfed and mistreated children. More important,
Ben Chenoweth
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a contrast to the last book I read! This one was brilliantly paced, with a fascinating plot and great characters. But the highlight of any Joan Aiken book is the language, and this one has it in spades. English regional dialects leap off the page. And she appears to make up words (or at least unexpected derivations of real words) that add to the charm. All in all, Is is highly recommended.
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found the story very interesting, and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.
Also, Gold Kingy was such a jerk :P
The only problem is that it took a while for things to happen (which was a good thing, because the suspense was well built), but I found it ended a bit too abruptly.
I give it a 4.5 stars :)
Jenn Estepp
May 06, 2009 rated it liked it
in this volume of the wolves chronicles, dido passes the mantle to little half-sister is, who finds herself looking for a long-lost cousin up in the north country. the beginning/set-up was a little too much pinocchio/land of lost boys for me. but, i loved is's development as a character and the supporting cast are typically great. as is the nefarious villain and his comeuppance.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Is Twite, the redoubtable Dido's younger sister, proves to be just as brave and funny in this adventure. On to her next! As I read this series, I'm musing on the Twite family: why is it that all the women are so good, and the men such scoundrels? No answer, but their adventures make great reading.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
read this book a long time ago. all I remember is that it's awesome.
Anna Solow
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I definitely want to read more books by this author.
Lia Marcoux
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love this book. Probably my favorite of the Wolves Chronicles (and it doesn't even have Dido). Spooky and massively original.
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2013
Ryan Ross
rated it did not like it
Mar 19, 2019
Cathy Mullican
rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2013
rated it liked it
Jan 11, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2016
Sylvia Kelso
rated it liked it
Oct 24, 2012
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2013
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and short stories.

She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge. She worked for the United Nations Information

Other books in the series

The Wolves Chronicles (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1)
  • Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2)
  • Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3)
  • The Stolen Lake (The Wolves Chronicles, #4)
  • Dangerous Games (The Wolves Chronicles, #5)
  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • Dido and Pa (The Wolves Chronicles, #7)
  • Cold Shoulder Road (The Wolves Chronicles, #9)
  • Midwinter Nightingale (The Wolves Chronicles, #10)
  • The Witch of Clatteringshaws (The Wolves Chronicles, #11)
“She thought about Penny’s stories. There was one about a man who had three wishes and married a swan. If I had three wishes, I know what I’d wish for, thought Is. I’d wish for those two boys to be found, and for us all to be back on Blackheath Edge. She thought about Penny teaching her to read. “What’s the point of reading?” Is had grumbled at first. “You can allus tell me stories, that’s better than reading.” “I’ll not always be here,” Penny had said shortly. “Besides, once you can read, you can learn somebody else. Folk should teach each other what they know.” “Why?” “If you don’t learn anything, you don’t grow. And someone’s gotta learn you.”

Well, thought Is, if I get outta here, I’ll be able to learn some other person the best way to get free from a rolled-up rug.”
More quotes…