‘The Final Reckoning’ by Robin Jarvis

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

I’ve recently mentioned how much I enjoy Robin Jarvis’ writing now that I’m reading his Deptford Mice Trilogy as an adult, and The Crystal Prison ended on such a cliffhanger that I had to go on and read the final book in the trilogy, ominously entitled The Final Reckoning, soon afterwards.

In The Final Reckoning the mice find themselves under threat not only from the army of rats that is massing under London but also from the mysterious eternal winter which has enveloped Deptford.  Everything points to Jupiter being back and so the mice, together with the bats and the Starwife, must try to stay alive long enough to defeat him.

You may remember that one of my favourite things about Robin Jarvis’ writing is that he isn’t afraid to be dark even though he is writing for a younger age group, and this book was no exception.  Often in children’s fiction, the forces of evil (whatever form they may take) are distant, incompetent or impotent or a combination of all three.  Evil is usually active in a far off land to which the protagonist must journey to fight it, its plans fail fairly easily before they can be put into practice, and if a character is important and liked then Evil will frequently content itself with capturing rather than killing them.  All in all, Evil often isn’t terribly threatening.  However, the forces of evil in Jarvis’ books are immediate, powerful, bloodthirsty and indiscriminate in who they attack.  Just because a character has a name and has been well developed does not mean that they are safe.  I love that I can read a book for younger readers entitled The Final Reckoning with a final chapter also called ‘The Final Reckoning’ and do so with apprehension because I don’t know which, if any, of the characters will make it through to the end alive.  There is real tension and anxiety in these books which I’ve not often found in children’s fantasy.  Of course, this might be far more common in children’s literature now, I don’t know, but I still think Jarvis should be applauded for what he has done, particularly considering The Deptford Mice Trilogy is more than twenty years old.

The Final Reckoning by Robin Jarvis.  Published by Macdonald, 1997, pp. 305.  Originally published in 1990.

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