Friday, July 20, 2012

The Shadow Thieves (Anne Ursu)

Anne Ursu's The Shadow Thieves (first in a trilogy called The Cronus Chronicles) was published in 2006. I bought the book when it first came out. I have owned this book for six years and never opened it. I decided that was a little ridiculous, so sat down to read it. I think part of why it took me so long was that in 2005, the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book was released, and I was busy enjoying those and was perhaps nervous that this book was going to be too similar.

I worried for nothing. Sure, both The Lightning Thief and The Shadow Thieves came out around the same time, both are kid's series with Greek mythology, and both have a variant of the word 'thief' in the title, but the books were different enough that I could enjoy them for different reasons. The characters are charming, the writing is clean and focused and snarkily, sarcastically humorous. I thought I would get tired of Ursu's funny jabs after the first two or three, but they consistently remained entertaining. I appreciated their presence.

Here's the plot: Charlotte Mielswetzski, the grumpy, fire-haired protagonist of our story, finds out that her cousin Zee will be coming to live with her. He's fleeing England after all of the young kids around him mysteriously grow sick, exhausted and unable to move. When he arrives in America, the same thing happens. The two take it upon themselves to solve the problem and discover a plot that involves a shadow army and a coup of the Underworld. The action never comes off as intense or epic (like battle scenes in Percy Jackson), but it suits the book. I would have been put off if we were suddenly put through a huge, violent battle with lots of slaughter. It wouldn't have fit the tone of the book.

Overall, this was an enjoyably light-hearted book with a smattering of Greek mythology to make it interesting. Young fans of Percy Jackson will likely enjoy it.

My Rating: 4/5
The Shadow Thieves on Goodreads
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