Title: Rise of the Shadow Stealers
Author: Daniel Ingram Brown
Publication Date: 25th January 2013
Fletcher and Scoop are Apprentice Adventurers from the ancient establishment of Blotting’s Academy on Fullstop Island, the place where all story characters are trained. The trouble is, they can’t remember how they got there.
It’s the first day of term, but the two apprentices soon realise something is wrong. Things are going missing, including their own memories, and Scoop has the unsettling feeling that something is creeping in the shadows.
As the children search for answers, they become entangled with the life of the Storyteller, the island’s creator and king. They journey to his wedding banquet and find themselves uncovering a hidden past. What is their connection to this mysterious man? And is there more to him than meets the eye?
I should probably start off by saying that I never usually read books of this genre, so I was completely unsure what to expect when I started reading it. However I am always willing to give anything a go, so I was still looking forward to reading it.
To begin with, I was a little worried that I wasn’t getting into the story; probably mainly because it is such a different genre, and because I’ve been reading books recently with a much higher age demographic. There were elements that I was intrigued by, though; characters not remembering anything from their past, and waking up in a place they don’t recognise. The two main characters, Scoop and Fletcher, are students of Blotting’s Academy and discover that they are partners. They set off to find their mentor – the Yarnbard, which is a character that I really liked – and went on an adventure full of twists, turns and dark caves to find the mysterious Storyteller.
Although I felt like I wasn’t going to get into the story at the beginning, I quickly became hooked. The number of plot twists and events happening in every chapter made me not want to put the book down because I wanted to find out what was happening next. The characters and settings were described in a way that made the images perfectly clear in my mind so I had an image of everything I was reading. There was one part that I loved and I could really clearly picture because it reminded me of MMORPG games that I’d played a lot in the past:
“She saw a stream of strangely assorted characters heading passed her, away from the village. Some were Academy students dressed in their red tunics, and others were obviously islanders or villagers. There were tradesmen and women: a baker, her apron and cloth-cap covered with flour; a cobbler, half-finished shoes hanging around his neck, and a man carrying an axe.”
Towards the end of the book, the story took some strange turns and it was great! Some things happened that I didn’t expect at all – and when that happens in a book, I prefer it so much more than the ending being predictable.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book! It’s very easy to read so it’s great if you don’t want something that feels like a slog to get through; the story flows well and the twists and turns will keep you engaged until you turn the last page.