Meaghan McIsaac’s debut novel, Urgle, is an intriguing story. Urgle, “the boy history would name useless”, lives in the rich fantasy world of the Ikkuma Pit, complete with the Piq Flies of the Baublenotts, the melted faces of the Abish Village, and the mysterious Belphebans.
Told from Urgle’s point of view, it is the story of a quest. The Brothers of the Ikkuma Pit are abandoned by their mothers at birth so babies are paired with a big brother; little Cubby gets Urgle, who is sure he is a terrible big brother. But when Cubby is kidnapped, it is Urgle who leads the rescue. Along the way, the rescuers become embroiled in a war that could spell disaster for everyone.
McIsaac has a knack for creating multi-dimensional characters; Urgle in particular is well drawn. The action is fast-paced and will keep readers engaged. However, there are some holes in the construction of the fantasy world that go beyond the suspension of disbelief, and this at times disrupts the flow, possibly confusing readers. Nonetheless, the strong elements of this story overpower the weaknesses and will pique interest in the planned, and very necessary, sequel.