Beyond Books

The Eyeball Collector

The Eyeball Collector
by F.E. Higgins

Although Hector Fitzbaudly has always lived a plush life on the posh side of the River Foedus, he’s yearned to slip away from his comfortable home and see the seedy side of Urbs Umida. Unfortunately, he gets his chance when a blackmail artist confronts his father with a terrible secret from his past, and Hector finds himself penniless and on the streets. He is determined to get his revenge against the man responsible, who has been a pauper, a gentleman, and an Eyeball Collector ?stealing jewels from the wealthy to make false eyes to replace his missing one. He is a master of disguise, and a swindler who moves from place to place.

Hector trails the Eyeball Collector to the small village of Pagus Parvus and the foreboding Withypitts Hall, run by the eccentric Lady Mandible who has a strange taste for the macabre. He takes a job incubating butterflies for Lady Mandible, and places himself in the perfect position to take revenge. Hector is so close to the Eyeball Collector, but will he be able to go through with his plan? (

I wasn’t certain I would like this book as much as I did The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician because I don’t like eyeballs. Yes, laugh. I think anything that has to do with eyes is just gross and creepy. Luckily aside from the gross eyeball on the cover, side and back of this book, it wasn’t  nearly as bad as I thought. In fact there was a lot less about eyeballs than there was about everything else, including butterflies in this story.

All three books are dark, but I found this one to have slightly creepier and more macabre aspects. Especially when it came to Lady Mandible. She freaked me out, people. She really did.

Once more little pieces of all three books are interwoven in this story and I am curious about the sort of background stories and their possible resolutions in future books. Will Pin ever find his father? Will Ludlow ever reunite with his parents? What of Polly and Juno?

This is another one of those posts where I can’t really tell you all my favourite parts of the story without spoiling anything. I did love how the story would progress through a series of letters from Hector to Polly explaining why he did what he did and what was going on in Withypitts Hall. I found Hector to be a very likable character and as much as I feared not enjoying this book as much I think part of me enjoyed reading it the most.

Unlike the awesome packaging of the first two books, this one was a little disappointing. Yes, it still had that library binding hard cover sort of deal, but the pages were just normal pages and the text wasn’t an exciting colour. I am sad to hear from my friend that the next book The Lunatic’s Curse isn’t going to be the same at all. It will be released to match the UK editions of this series. I am more than slightly disappointed by that due to a) my obsession with making sure my books in a series match and b) I love the look and feel of the US editions of this series. It’s very rare that I prefer US editions over UK ones. They look much more cartoonish and less dark and foreboding. Hmm, maybe that’s the point?

Regardless of what the book looks like I cannot wait for it to come out in August and read more about the creepy city of Urbs Umida!

Tales From the Sinister City

  1. The Black Book of Secrets
  2. The Bone Magician
  3. The Eyeball Collector
  4. The Lunatic’s Curse



  • Belle Wong

    I don’t like eyeballs either! I just finished reading your reviews of this series. I think I like the synopsis of the Bone Magician the best, but will do as you advised, and read the series in order. Adding them to my to-read list on Goodreads now 🙂

  • darla d

    Oh, my 12yo just brought The Bone Magician home from the library – I’ll have to warn her there’s an earlier book before she starts reading it! This series has been on my list for ages – I hope to get to it soon.

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