August 2010, Orchard Books
336 pages, Paperback
Children's, steampunk-ish, fantasy
Lives of thieves explored, deception, treachery, scarred friendship, family ties, moderate peril,
Summary from Orchard Books
"The final shock of it hit home. The Petches were thieves, and they had stolen him."
Tobias is on the run. From the father who betrayed him...from the mother who couldn't comfort him...from his own desperate fear. But when he falls into the clutches of his uncle's sinister gang of thieves, his fear grows. And soon Toby realises, his nightmare has only just begun...
I enjoyed this more than I expected to. I knew I'd like it, I mean I loved Castle of Shadows. But with the initial blurb, I thought the story would be all about Toby. It is about Toby, the focus is more on him than Charlie. I loved getting to learn more about his family (the crooked side of it). I didn't enjoy seeing him suffer, but unfortunately that's what makes a good story. Toby gets beaten up physically and emotionally in this book. It doesn't make for pleasant reading, especially the ending where I wanted to find Ellen and demand answers immediately. It's not a life or death cliffhanger, but it's a huge blow to both Toby and Charlie. My heart went out for both of them.
The reason I adore this so much is because Charlie gets more limelight than I expected her to. She is my favourite character (but Toby is now joint favourite character for this book). I'm enjoying learning what being queen is like. She loves having her mother back, but her life is far from perfect or easy. Because of being queen, she can't do what she wants. There are still rules she has to follow. But that doesn't stop the dreams, the dreams which try and warn her about what is going on. She listens to the warnings, but is powerless to do anything. It's hard be royal at such a young age, and I'm not surprised she had the odd little tantrum (very minor). She is still very brave, and manages to make a difference in a pretty helpless situation.
I don't know what it's called, but I'm pretty sure that there is another book after this one. There has to be.
Charlie and Theo's lives get more complicated and dangerous in this second installment about their lives. Definitely one you'll shake your fist at the book.
Make sure you read the first book, CASTLE OF SHADOWS.
For more info on Ellen and her books, visit her website.