Publisher: Earthling, 2007
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: Contemporary, YA



The Servants came to my attention through all the acclaim it seems to be getting. The book has been nominated for both the British Fantasy Awards and the World Fantasy Awards, which of course made me curious. A book nominated for two major awards should be pretty much made of awesome, so to the library I went for a copy. (You know how it is, my TBR pile just isn't big enough, so I've got to borrow more.)

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The characterization in The Servants is incredible. Smith clearly remembers what it's like to be eleven years old and powerless to make changes in your own life, and Mark's emotions and insights ring true on every page. He's frustrated and angry, but instead of coming across as hormonal and irritating, the result is actually quite heart-wrenching. Mark makes for a wonderful and sympathetic protagonist, someone who grows and changes and winds up making things work in his own way.

The plot is intriguing, a series of slow reveals bringing a broader viewpoint to the situation. My one complaint is that the ending is perhaps a little too pat, too tidily wrapped up when the point of the rest of the book is that the situation isn't as simple as it first seems.

The Servants is a powerful, emotional story about a very relatable kid whose frustration will resonate both with the younger set and any adult who remembers what it's like to be that age.