The Amazing Adventures Of Toby The Trilby

Created by six scientists who accidentally gave him cat ears (and a tail), 12-year-old Toby decides to leave the safety of his cavern world to seek answers. Book 1 of the Toby the Trilby series for all ages.

Adventure Seekers, Young and Old, Join Toby, Small, but Bold …

He was born underground, at the edge of the world’s destruction. Twelve years old, Toby has never seen the sun. Created by six scientists who accidentally gave him cat ears (and a tail), Toby decides to leave the safety of his cavern world to seek answers. Did anyone survive the Great Destruction? Why has he been hearing a mysterious Voice? And, most important of all, does he have a soul?

Book 1 of the Toby the Trilby series for all ages.

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D. M. Dutcher
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This is an unusual book, to say the least.

Toby is a catboy created by a group of scientists who survived an apocalypse by living far underground. One day Toby decides to leave his home to explore the world and seek out the mysterious Voice who speaks to him. However, the world above is filled with danger, both human and nonhuman.

It’s a darker premise than you’d think. The world has suffered a total apocalypse, and some of the scenes are intense. It’s not particularly violent, but it’s a grim world Toby is exploring. It’s also unusual to have a hero that has been genetically engineered, and worries whether or not he has a soul.

This contrasts with a general, upbeat tone of the book. I don’t want to say it’s a jarring contrast, but more of an unusual one. It’s episodic, with Toby running into various survivors and saving or fleeing from them.

There’s a few negatives though. The main one is that the book is very short. My guess would be at about 10-15k words, more of a novella or novelette than a full book. I don’t really mind that, but the short form leads into some other issues. One is that Toby really doesn’t have much of a background or personality. He’s a great character, and he really needs more space to develop.

The last negative is that the Christian aspects are too deus ex machina. God speaks directly to Toby, and most of the spiritual things are God telling him stuff. There is one parable about evolution that works well in it, and you wish the book went more that way instead. I think though this is more due to the book’s short length. The idea of a bioengineered human worrying if he has a soul is good, but again, needs more room to grow in.

So it’s not really a bad book, more of an unusual one. I think this one probably will be better when you can read the series in one go. This volume feels more like whetting your appetite than sating it.