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What does a middling writer do when she runs out of ideas for plot lines? Pick up a history book about World War 2: substitute Nazis with Rats, substitute Jews with Mice, insert American Hero - Bamm! instant childrens novel.
The only reason it doesn't tank completely is the very realistic portrayal of how the characters constantly underestimate the plans of the Nazi-rats because they simply can not imagine anyone planning what they are doing
I agree with another reviewer that this book is really just Part 1 of Book 5. The book doesn't really have a climax-- it's basically just one long journey to discover what has become of the nibblers. The discovery is made, and the travelers return to Regalia.
Even when the awful discovery is made, I didn't feel really attached to the nibblers until afterwards, when Luxa reveals that she knew many of those who were killed. Being privy to her personal connections with individual nibblers earlier in the story could have added a lot more power to the death scene.
There's just not enough going on here to hold a reader's attention. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods sets a precedent that is hard to match.