Sands, Kevin The Blackthorn Key, 384 pages. Aladdin (Scholastic), 2015. $18. Language: G (1 swear, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (one scene about peeing in a barrell); Violence: PG-13 (murders, fires, evidence of torture).
Christopher Rowe is happy with his life as an apprentice to a well-respected apothecary in London during the 1660’s. Then people start dying and his master acts out in a way contrary to everything Christopher has ever experienced - and when Chris returns to the shop, his master is dead and Christopher has nowhere to go. Enemies are everywhere - even in seemingly friendly faces. Too many people have already died and Christopher is the only one who has all of the keys to solve the mystery - if he can figure them out before the enemy catches him.
Sands starts the book with a great comedic hook and then plunges into danger. I was enthralled from start to finish. However, contrary to the blurbs on the book, there is no magic involved in this book. I was not disappointed when I read it, just confused. The book is an exciting enough and dangerous enough to immerse a reader without also having magic.
EL - OPTIONAL, MS - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher