Sunday, August 5, 2012
Educate Emma: Books: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
"Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy, where hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets...
Proper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious thirteen-year-old boy who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo delight in being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. And soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them, and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion."
Characters: Due to the title and dust jacket description, I expected The Thief Lord to be...more about The Thief Lord. I was wrong, however, as The Thief Lord is a vital character for only a very short period of time. After about a hundred and fifty pages, becomes an average side character. The main characters then become Prosper, Bo, and the detective, Victor, whose job is to find them. I was kind of disappointed with this deception from the marketing team, but the cast of characters is still a solid one. The street kids were resourceful and easy to read about, and Prosper's protectiveness of Bo made him likable. None of the personalities truly stood out, but I did enjoy their story. 4 flowers.
Writing: I loved Funke's descriptions of Venice. The structure of the third person narrative really works for the content, and the pacing never feels too fast or slow. Funke is clearly experienced. However, the cover and opening of the story made me wish her writing style was more magical and gripping. The Thief Lord's tone reminded me more of my favourite contemporary MG books than my top fantasy picks - which still makes it a great book, but the cover, description and title were misleading. 4 flowers.
Plot: As I said in the writing section, I felt slightly cheated by the packaging of The Thief Lord. I expected something a little more mystical and elusive. The plot does contain quality fantasy elements, but the tone was not mysterious or magical, and I found myself disappointed. While this being true, I did love reading about the well-crafted conflict and subplots in The Thief Lord. It'll definitely be a recommendation in the future. 4 and a half flowers.
End: Fun, predictable and witty. 4 flowers.
Dust Jacket Description: Misleading. 2 and a half flowers.
Cover: I love everything about this cover. My concerns with misrepresentation have mostly to do with the title, so the cover gets a big stamp of approval. 4 flowers.
Overall: It wasn't quite what I expected, but excellent regardless. It's well written and endearing, with a great setting. I plan on reading more Funke in the near future. 4 flowers.