Brydie Wright's Reviews > Bilby

Bilby by Helen Allan
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it was amazing

Bilby, like its protagonist, is unassuming from the outside, and it doesn't give away too much from its title. Venture inside, though and what at first seems like it might be a novel for children, with its anthropomorphic characterisations of a tribe of rats, quickly reveals itself to dwell on more serious themes, better suited to the maturity levels of a young adult reader.

I was blown away by this book. Not all self-published offerings are created equal but this is a CreateSpace gem which should be picked up by a traditional publisher. Helen Allan is an excellent writer, with a gifted command of language and a natural ability for storytelling.

Like Watership Down and Animal Farm before it, Bilby does not shy away from the harsh realities of life in an animal colony, with pecking orders, cruelty and death, an everyday part of existence. And like these classics, the humanisation of the animals creates a story with two levels of meaning, designed to examine the human condition and in the case of Bilby, to expose the impact of man on species like the small marsupial, which have dwindled almost to the brink of extinction.

These are the high-level concepts which make the book great but for the reader deciding whether to pick up the book, from this review, do it because of its readability. It is an exciting page-turner, high on action and adventure, with a skilfully crafted and fast-paced plot. Bilby is like a Cinderella story crossed with The Hunger Games, a fight to the death for the shy and gentle hero and his brave and sassy offsider Essy, pursued by the relentless Fisck, a battle-crazed rat warrior.

Will good triumph over evil in this edge-of-your seat drama? Helen Allan leaves us guessing till the last moment and it's well worth the wait.

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Reading Progress

February 10, 2017 – Started Reading
February 10, 2017 – Shelved
February 13, 2017 – Finished Reading

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