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The Last Bogler
by Catherine Jinks
Alfred Bunce is out to rid Victorian London of bogles. In order to reach his goal, Alfred needs all the help he can get. Alfred and his apprentice, Ned, work with the Sewers Office to find and eliminate bogles. However, the bogles are acting unpredictably and Ned wonders if he has enough skill to become the next bogler.
To add to the suspense, an old enemy is out for revenge, and Ned’s life is in danger. Can Ned survive long enough to help Alfred rid London of bogles?
Ned is thankful that Alfred has taken him off the street, but Ned doesn’t think he wants to take Alfred’s place as the last bogler. The Last Bogler focuses more on Ned and his internal conflict, which makes the book less interesting than the previous two.
Although new characters are added, none of them are particularly memorable. The Last Bogler is not a stand-alone book; if the first two books haven’t been read, it may be hard to follow the plot. Additionally, much like the first two books, the language may be difficult for some readers.
- Alfred and Ned kill bogles. None of the deaths are described in detail. When one bogle is killed, it “reared up, frothing and hissing, its tentacles writhing, caught in the glittering trap—Bang! It exploded like a giant grape, releasing a geyser of black liquid.”
- Alfred kills another bogle. “Suddenly there was no bogle. Nothing remained except a rapidly deflating, crusty black thing that looked like an oversized boil. Alfred’s spear was sticking out of it.”
- Mr. Harwood is attacked, but it is not described. “By the time Alfred and Ned rounded the next corner, Mr. Harwood was already on his back in the middle of the alley, with both hands clamped over his nose.”
- Someone tries to kill Ned, but the attack is not described. Ned’s “hair was ruffled, his knuckles were grazed, and there was a rip in the knee of his trousers.” Later, the attacker confesses that he was paid to kill Ned.
- Jack Gammon tries to kill Ned and Alfred. Jack threatens to “chop him into pieces.” In the end, Jack falls to his death. Ned “would never forget the horror of shouting for help . . . with Jack Gammon’s shattered body lying in a pool of blood at his feet.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Alfred and another man talk about a missing person. They are unsure if he was taken by a bogle or “he’s tucked away in the Nell Gwynne public house, drinking himself witless.”
- When a newsboy is seen following Ned, someone says, “Why, what a damnable cheek!”
- Alfred tells someone that a lady only cares about “that hoard o’ coins in her piss pot.”
- Alfred is called a “Go-Devil Man.”
- To catch a bogle, Alfred must lay out a circle of salt with a gap in the ring so the bogle can enter it. In order to kill a bogle, it must be hit with a spear.
- When a bogle is near, a child feels a sense of despair.
- Alfred visits a lady known for making potions and curses. She also talks about types of herbs that are “for deathwork” and others that drive away the devil, or attack magic.
- Alfred learns that his spear is made from “blackthorn with a consecrated point on it” and that it has herbs that are “used for cursing.”