Jaemi's Reviews > Ambergate

Ambergate by Patricia Elliott
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's review
Jan 11, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: ya-fiction, fantasy

Picking up three years after Leah's disappearance at the end of Murkmere, Ambergate follows the young maid Scuff, now nearly a young woman, as her life takes her away from the home she's come to love. Haunted by dreams of a long time ago, Scuff's worst fears come to life when soldiers arrive at the manner, looking for the girl 102, who is to be arrested for a crime in her past. A crime no one knows of, and most don't believe she could have committed.

Aggie and her aunt deny Scuff's existence amongst the Staff, sending the soldier's away. Later that night, Scuff is sent on her way with a letter recommending her to a household in Poorgrass Kayes. Unfortunately, as she makes her escape, a group of soldiers arrive seeking her out. The soldiers are actually rebels in disguise, but she doesn't know that, and nor do the staff assigned to help her escape. And so it is she finds herself hurled from the window of the tower in the old Master's flying machine. No one believes she'll survive.

When Scuff next comes to she's in an unfamiliar place, and full of wonder at her survival. She has vague memories of wings, but little else.

Once well enough to rise from bed, Scuff finds she's in the home of Gadd, a healer, living on the Wasteland. His son, Erland, had found her and brought her to his father for care. Gadd, seeing the growing feelings between Scuff and his son, means to send her on her way, but she is reluctant to leave and stretches out her time as long as she can.

Once again, it's the appearance of soldier's that send her on her way.

Bad luck continues to follow her, as upon her arrival in Poorgrass Keyes, the young lad who's assigned to help her find her way instead deposits her on the doorstep of a brothel. A change of luck brings him back to help her escape, only to have her caught up and sold at a slave market. With mixed feelings, she realizes the women who've claimed her for recompense are her old coworkers Dog and Mistress Crumplin.

Gravengate Home is no different than she remembers it from her childhood, and Scuff can't bear the thought of living there once again, unable to help the children suffering within its walls. A needless worry, as it turns out, since the same soldiers are searching for her within the city and have been told she was taken to the home. Though her newfound friend tries to warn her, he's too late, and yet again Scuff is hauled off at the hands of an enemy to one more unfamiliar face.

Her captors are the same rebels who meant to take her from Murkmere, but to Scuff they still seem soldiers, and she's willing to do anything they ask to save herself from a grim fate. She agrees to the order to kill Caleb Prouted, the Lord Protector's son, unaware what other plans the rebels have for her.

Rescued by the Protector's musician boy, Nate, Scuff is taken to the palace, and told never to reveal her face. Miss Leah recognizes her, even with the hat and veil, and soon the two are trying to find a way to save Leah from her fate of marriage to Caleb, as Scuff continues to delay her mission of murder.

The underlying story is that of Scuff's true heritage--to her only a dim memory that seems more a dream than a truth of long ago. Her trials throughout are many, but through it all she remains true to herself.

This was a very different read than Murkmere, but the story was just as enjoyable, and slightly more suspenseful.

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