Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones is the second book in the Wild Boy series, the first of which, Wild Boy, is also reviewed on this site.
We loved the first book so much, we rushed out collectively to buy this book, and didn’t even wait for it to come out in paperback. That’s how keen we were.
We have worked our way through it over the last six weeks, a few chapters at a time, and absolutely loved it. We were discussing whether we loved it more or less than the first book, and agreed that it is a tie. Personally I think the first book wins on novelty alone. I had never read anything like it, and given the quantity of children’s books I read year on year, this was a great plus point for me. There really isn’t anything like Wild Boy out there. The two stories though, are equally gripping and well written.
Wild Boy is an ex circus freak, whose time being stared at by the general population gave him time to develop super Sherlock type skills of deduction and reasoning. In the first book, he teams up with acrobat and tight rope walker, Clarissa, to solve a series of horrifying crimes which are being pinned on him and Clarissa.
In this second book, Wild Boy and Clarissa have teamed up with a mysterious underground group called The Gentlemen. The Gentlemen are charged with overseeing delicate operations of national importance, and are like a think tank of new technologies and ideas.
They are called upon when one of Queen Victoria’s servants is struck down with a mysterious illness which makes the blood in his veins run black and causes him to die of terror. The Queen’s life is under threat. The security of the nation is under threat, and nobody knows what is causing this evil horror to cut a swathe through London. Wild Boy and Clarissa are charged by Queen Victoria herself with solving the crime, and things become personal when their mentor, Marcus, is also struck down.
The writing is taut and suspenseful. The action belts across every chapter, and there are lots of wonderful red herrings and twists and turns in the plot that keep you guessing until the very last chapter.
We loved it. I would recommend it to boys and girls aged about 10 and up. The material is quite dark, and very gory indeed. There is lots of violence and darkness which might upset younger readers, but which is very gripping indeed for older children.