What if Peter Pan’s Lost Boys were street urchins?
The Borribles could be described as an urban version of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Borribles look like children, and can only be differentiated by their pointy years. All Borribles were children one day, but they turned into these curious creatures after running away to live on the streets of the big cities. If they are not captured, Borribles never age and live forever. They are barred by social taboos from having money, so they steal everything they need or desire.
This book from 1976 in an underground classic of English young adult literature. It never really achieved wide success, most likely because of the surprising amount of violence in a book directed to children and teens. There are passages with brutal beatings and several bloody deaths.
But the book is fun, there is no denying that. The Borribles have a tribal structure in their society, with different neighborhood leaded by informal representatives. In this first book, the Borribles get together after scouts capture a Rumble, anthropomorphic rats that the Borribles hate, and they decided to assemble an elite group to assassinate the rat leaders in the town of Rumbledom.
Writer Michael de Larrabeiti, who died in 2008, build his narrative in a fast and evolving way. The characters are interesting individually, but the group in the end form bonds of friendship that seemed to me similar to the fellowship of the ring of Lord of The Rings. The idea of the journey was equally epic, as the group faced several dangers until they get to Rumbledom for a final showdown. The book is centered on the actions rather than the descriptions, and that gives a welcome speed to the story.
There are two more books on the Borrible series: The Borribles Go For Broke and The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis.