How to Catch a Bogle
by Catherine Jinks
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 313 pgs. Fantasy
Birdie is glad to be a bogler's assistant, a step up for a London street urchin from toshing in the sewers or mudlarking on the banks of the Thames. Never mind that her job is to bait the trap to ensnare bogles, a catch-all name for any number of monsters: a shellycoat, a grindylow, or even a worricow. Alfred the Bogler is very careful of his young helper, as he has already lost one child to a bogle (all of whom love to eat children), and he doesn't aim to lose another one. Still, it is a risky proposition for Birdie to stand inside a circle of salt, one end open, and sing until the bogle enters the open end, then hop out the other. In this story, first in a trilogy, Alfred and Birdie make the acquaintance of a lady of quality who is interested in folk creatures, not quite imagining that they are real. Miss Eames, at first totally done in by her first experience with the mystical world, turns out to be a means of salvation for Albert and Birdie when they have a run in with a maniacal doctor who wants to capture bogles instead of destroying them. A brilliant Victorian fantasy, How to Catch a Bogle is frightening, thrilling, filled with wonderful, horrible, and memorable characters. It's going to be very hard to wait for the next installment.