Title: Deltora Quest: City of Rats
Author: Emily Rodda
Published: 1st June 2001
Synopsis: Lief, Barda and Jasmine — companions with nothing in common but their hatred of the enemy — are on a perilous quest to find the seven lost gems of the magic Belt of Deltora.
Only when the Belt is complete once more can the evil Shadow Lord be overthrown. They have succeeded in finding the golden topaz and the great ruby. The two gems’ mysterious powers have strengthened them and given them the courage to move on in their search for the third stone.
But none of them can know what horrors await them in the forbidden City of the Rats.
Armed with the topaz and the ruby, Lief, Barda and Jasmine enter the City of Rats, where they face more dangers, and many more unknown threats as they seek out the next stone, a rainbow opal. But they must contend with rats, and people who live amongst rats who fear small, furry things, and will use this fear to attack the trio and Jasmine’s animal friends before they can get to the opal and slot it into place on the belt. The challenges they face will test them and their resolve as they work out what those living in the next realm fear and why, and what the consequences of their presence and actions will mean for those who try to stop them getting the opal. For a realm that has been under a dark power for many years, Lief, Barda and Jasmine are finding that the dark powers have created fears so deep, nobody knows who to trust.
In the third part of this series, the quest Lief and his companions are on is getting more dangerous, yet still remains age appropriate for younger readers, and has lots of excitement and action to keep them engaged and enthralled throughout. As an adult reader, I certainly am, and each book gets better and there is a sense that there is an unravelling mystery happening throughout that will be revealed at the end of the series.
Each book can be read quickly and devoured, or slowly savoured, depending on how you want to enjoy it. Having all six in one volume makes it easier to go from one to the other as I finish, and I am hoping to get through all of them soon – hopefully within the next few weeks or months, and then I can wrap up with a post on the entire series.
Lief, Barda and Jasmine are great characters – they are by no means perfect, and they do fight, like any trio of friends on a quest, yet they manage to pull through whatever disaster or troubles face them to complete the quest set forth for them by Lief’s parents, Jarred and Anna, so they can return the rightful ruler of Del to the throne upon their return.
Action packed books like this will have a long life, and be enjoyed for years to come by many readers. For me, it will sit alongside classics like Narnia and Harry Potter quite comfortably. Each series uses common themes yet they each have a unique style, character and plot that make them wonderful reads for lovers of fantasy.