This Discworld novel by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett was selected as Book of the Month for May by the Goodreads Great Middle Grade Reads Book. I tried hard to finish it in the month, so you may have read my comments already.
Maurice is a cat, and he associates with a clan of rats, and all of them woke up one day with a sense of self. And able to talk. So they got together with a young piper and made a reasonable living infesting various towns and being led out of it by the piper, who got paid for his trouble and shared the money with the cat and rats.
Only, in this town, the local rats are in a bad way, having been set upon in a manner designed to allow the ratcatchers to hoard food, deprive the populace and generally run a criminal gang under the noses of the mayor and townspeople. Our heroic rats have a hard time sorting things out, and we gain some amazing insights into the lives of these intelligent and fastidious animals, and the cruelty which humans mete out daily in their war against them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the rat sequences in this book. Maurice seemed to me to slow up the book a lot, although I suppose his view gave a counterpoint to the rats’ own approach. The piper, Keith, was a nice chap, but meeting Malicia, the mayor’s daughter, was a trial that may have been necessary to the plot, or the sub-plot, but irritated me no end. It gave the book a sort of ebb and flow of enjoyment. Great, it’s the rats’ tale, and oh, it’s the humans again, sigh. I thought of the tide turning as I read, which must be bad.
So it’s a lukewarm review from me, although I think I enjoyed it more than the other Discworld novel I read, many years ago, which put me off reading the rest. Is that heresy? Probably, but the Educated Rats were definitely most enjoyable.
Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett