If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you probably know that Angelika Rust is easily one of my top five favorite indie authors out there right now, if not at the absolute top. You Used to Hurry Home and The Girl on the Red Pillow are two books I will easily recommend to anyone in need of book recommendations. They also happen to be books that my wife regularly recommends to everyone she talks to.
Ratpaths, her ongoing full length novel series, has been something that I’ve battled with. While it’s brilliant and action-packed and contains a protagonist that I fear must be at least slightly based on me, it’s also incredible political…and if you know anything else about me, politics and I just don’t jive. I mean, I really really really wanted to like House of Cards, and Kevin Spacey is absolutely brilliant in it…but in the end, I just couldn’t do it.
Ratpaths, on the other hand, contains enough to keep me going…but Once a Rat, the third in the series, changes all that.
I mean…it’s still rather political and still contains all the same things that all the previous novels have which make them what they are, but something about this one just completely took me by storm. If you’ve read either of the first two books, you must read this one. Perhaps it’s how she delves deeper into the world of Istonnia, perhaps it’s how the focus is more on the central adorable thief than it is on the leaders of this fictional realm. I really have no clue…but it worked for me.
But yeah…let’s get into the real review:
Once a Rat returns us quickly to the world of Istonnia and it’s most adorable thief, Nivvo. With great ease and considerable conciseness, Rust reminds us of everything that happened in the previous two novels in the series, while also giving us a little insight into what had happened to the citizens of the realm during the short time between this book and the previous.
But we are then quickly placed right into the middle of a new dilemma that only Nivvo could possible repair, a new empire-changing prospect that requires the skills of a thief who also happens to be of a very particular heritage.
And perhaps this is precisely what caused me to think this is far and above the best book in the trilogy, because we’ve already got most of the background we need to get this started here and can, instead, move into the real action.
Of course, perhaps what I really get into is how Rust uses this title to really delve into the background of Nivvo himself, questioning the attributes that cause him to allow himself to continually get into these grand circumstances.
All around, this book does a fantastic job of taking all those pieces we love from the previous books and increasing the use of them to complete perfection. Honestly, if you’ve read any of these books, you must read this one.