on 30 November 2009
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.
Adam Bloom is an ordinary orphan, whose sister has an extraordinary talent. When Cressida is invited to the Festival of Youthful Genius, he's determined to go along too - no matter how unwelcome he may be.
A rusty shed for a room, a pathetic sardine for dinner and being completely ignored by the staff are just the beginnings of Adam's miserable stay. Until he has a mysterious dream and unusual encounter with a sinister shadow. But no one wants to believe his tales. Then the children's talents begin disappearing, including Cressida's. What's Adam to do now?
With the help of an ex-racing driver and a brooding ex-shepherd, Adam is determined to recover all the stolen talents, no matter what. Even if his sister seems far from grateful.
This fast-paced story is packed with excitement and fascinating characters, racing around a vivid world. And all along Adam proves that being talented isn't the only way to be special - and that family is important, even if they aren't always nice to you.
Determination, persistence and difference are all good things in Adam's quest. And racing around the mountains in a sports car isn't so bad either.
Good reading for both boys and girls, this book is a lot of fun.
on 17 November 2006
Its one of those rare things - a book that geys better with each read. I am amazed, as being an adult (of sorts) I don't normally read children's fiction and more amazingly I read it three times! I couldn't belive how much subtext and details I missed on the first readthrough. Its what every childrens book should be - reaching out to readers of all ages - parents who read books to their children should get as much pleasure as their little uns! Another wonderful thing was that I laughed out loud on the third reading as the first - and I mean an embarressing loud laugh - not your titters or chortles. The pace of the book is great too - I think the author has got the balance right - the charcters are well observed - I felt I knew these character traits from people I meet in my everyday life, despite the adventure/fantasy context. I'm sorry to be a Talent Thief bore, but I can hardly praise this book enough. Well done sir and I urge any of you out there to give it a go - at least three times!