Rise of the Ragged Clover
SERIES: The Luck Uglies, #3
Written by Paul Durham
Illustrated by Pétur Antonsson
400 pages Ages 8—12
“Once a Luck Ugly, always a Luck Ugly.
Until the day you take your last breath.”
“Against all odds, Rye managed to find her father, Harmless, in the forest Beyond the Shale and rescue him from the treacherous Fork-Tongue Charmers. Now Harmless, High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies, wants to challenge the Charmers’ leader for control of both groups to end their fighting for good.
“But when Rye travels home to help put his plan in motion, she doesn’t find the Drowning she once knew. Bog Noblins raid the streets at night. Villagers are holed up in their homes. Even her friends are afraid, because no one is left to protect them.
“Rye is left with a choice: Wait or the adults to sort it all out or come up with her own plan. One that could change everything for her family and Drowning . . . because the only way to save her village may be to destroy it.” [back cover]
To some, the Luck Uglies are criminals and villains. To others, they are heroes who show up just when you need them most. The Luck Uglies are a strong group headed by Harmless, the High Chieftain. That was true for a while. Now the group is splintered, with some disgruntled Luck Uglies joining forces as the Fork-Tongue Charmers. They are easy to spot. Ask any Luck Ugly to open his mouth and stick out his tongue. If it splits like a snake’s tongue, well, you have a Luck Ugly unhappy with the status quo; a Fork-Tongue Charmer.
In the final book of this trilogy, the stage is set for The Reckoning, a final showdown between the two factions of Luck Uglies. Harmless and Slinister will face off in one final battle. The first to destroy the other and raise the ragged clover flag wins. It is a winner-takes-all contest with High Chieftain as the prize, a post belonging to Rye O’Chanter’s father, Harmless, and his father before him.
The Village of Drowning has more to worry about than the outcome of the Reckoning. Since the Luck Uglies have retreated from the Village, and Earl Morningwig Longchance and his soldiers are missing, the Bog Noblins, big harry creatures no one dare cross paths with, have taken over the streets of Village Drowning. No one is safe. Rye and her two best friends, Folly and Quinn, (along with several other characters, notably (deposed prince) Truitt), take it upon themselves to rid the village of the Bog Noblins, but the solution might hasten the village’s demise faster than the wrong man losing the reckoning might.
I love The Luck Uglies series. It is well-written, inventive, heartwarming, funny, and full of action and suspense. Rye is a formidable female protagonist, as is her potions-loving friend Folly. Both boys and girls will love Rye’s integrity, strong will, stubbornness, and loyalty to, and love of, her family and close friends. All of the characters in The Luck Uglies, large and small, are so well developed you can easily see them. They are difficult to forget.
The Luck Uglies will transport you to a time long ago, or maybe in the future, where Kings rule and villains are not always bad, or as bad as they seem. The Rise of the Ragged Clover ends the series with the most dramatic power confrontations, be it with the Bog Noblins or the Luck Uglies. This final story does not disappoint, nor does the ending (except for it being the end of a marvelously entertaining series written by Paul Durham, a new huge talent in children’s books).
The Rise of the Ragged Clover can stand on its own, but you miss so much by bypassing the first two books. (The Luck Uglies, reviewed here, and Fork-Tongue Charmers, reviewed here). There was not a moment in The Luck Uglies series that did not take me wherever Rye and her family were, making me wish I were there with these fascinating and engaging characters. The Luck Uglies is simply entertainment at its best.
I know I have said this in previous reviews, yet the same holds true for this final installment of The Luck Uglies: If you read only one middle grade novel this year, make it The Rise of the Ragged Clover. Durham is a master storyteller. The Luck Uglies series, and whatever Durham writes next, should be at the top of your “to read list.“ My only negative: it all ends so soon. Maybe Durham will need to know, and share with us all, Rye O’Chanter’s life after the reckoning. Are you listening, Paul?
The Rise of the Ragged Clover is an excellent end to an excellent series.
NEXT FROM PAUL DURHAM: Goyle (2018, Crown BYR/RandomHouse)
RISE OF THE RAGGED CLOVER (THE LUCK UGLIES, #3). Text copyright © 2016 by Paul Durham. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Pétur Antonsson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Harper, New York, NY.
Harper & HarperCollins Children’s Books are imprints of HarperCollins Publishing.
Great Stone Face Award Nominee 2015-2016
Shortlisted for the Lewisham Book Award
ALA Notable Children’s Book 2015
ALA Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth 2014
Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth for 2014
New Hampshire Public Radio MG Summer Pick 2014
Cybil Award for Middle Grade Speculative Fiction.
New York Public Library Best Children’s Book of 2014
Kirkus Starred Review (book #1)
Booklist Starred Review (book #1)
New York Public Library Title for Reading and Sharing
THE LUCK UGLIES, Book 1. Illustrations © 2014 by Pétur Antonsson. Used by permission of Harper.
RISE OF THE RAGGED CLOVER, Book 3. Illustrations © 2016 by Pétur Antonsson. Used by permission of Harper.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Rise of the Ragged Clover (The Luck Uglies #3) by Paul Durham & Pétur Antonsson, and received from Harper, (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”