Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands - ESSENTIAL

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

1 comment:

Lisa Morey said...

Christopher is apprentice to a master apothecary. Master Blackthorn has been the best , but when other apothecaries are murdered, and eventually Christopher's master is killed, the boy finds himself homeless, alone and wanted by the law as he is suspected of killing his master. The truth is, Christopher, alone, holds the key to solve the mystery of what is happening, but can he stay a few steps ahead of the law long enough to put the clues together?

This is a fantastic story, exciting and full of terrific explosions! The boys will love this. You can't put it down. I'm so excited to recommend this to my middle school students!