This is a boy-friendly book that has everything a young reader could ask for.... adventure, laughs (of which there are many), a sinister villain, edge-of-your-seat thrills and a very ordinary hero with whom he can identify. This is Mr Williams' first book and he has managed to produce a thoroughly exciting story with a very original plot - I don't think I am giving too much away when I say that his creation of a thief who steals children's talents is highly ingenious, yet also so simple that it is amazing that on-one thought of it earlier.
The pace of the story is spot on, and perfectly suited to reluctant readers as well as the more accomplished, yet this is not at the cost of characterisation and descriptive writing, as we sometimes see in books like this. The relationship between brother and sister, Adam and Cressida, is very well observed and all of the characters, and their various mannerisms, and very believeable.
This is one of those books that, despite its brilliance and also it being released more than two years ago, I feel still does not have a huge number of admirers. This is a travesty - if you buy one 'hidden gem' book for an 9+ year old child this year then make it this one... neither of you will be disappointed. And if you know a child (or are/were one yourself) who has an older brother or sister who seems so much better than them then this book really should be in your collection.