Mortimus Clay – The Purloined Boy
Length: 249 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (mid-grade, really)
Started: 08 August 2009
Finished: 14 August 2009 (the fact that it took me almost a week to read says nothing about the book; I was very busy with real life at the time. I’d say most people should be able to read this book in a day or two.)
Where did it come from? From the author via TLC book tours.
Why do I have it? I was asked to participate in the tour, and the book looked like fun.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 July 2009.
Verdict? If I knew any 10-year-olds, I’d probably pass it along, but since I don’t, I’ll hang onto it.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a Q&A with Mortimus Clay himself, the “most prolific author writing posthumously in the world today”.
Trevor may be scared
of the bogeymen, but he
just wants to go home!
Summary: Trevor Upjohn was snatched away from his parents and his home when he was a small child, but it wasn’t a normal kidnapping: Trevor was taken by Bogeymen. Not that he remembers much about home, except for brief flashes in dreams that tell him that he, and all of the other children like him in Superbia, are not where they’re supposed to be. When an old slave tells him of a conspiracy that will help him to escape from Superbia, Trevor is excited, and anxious to try, but many dangers stand between him and his ultimate goal of getting home… not least the hordes of bogeymen!
Review: The Purloined Boy is an exciting fantasy adventure story for middle-grade readers, and a fun and quick read for adults. While there are definitely elements of traditional quest stories (and hints that those elements will be amplified later in the series), it’s set in a universe unlike any I’d encountered before. The bogeymen are thoroughly creepy and evil, and would have scared the snot out of me as a kid (but then again, I was probably in my twenties before I could sleep with the closet door even slightly ajar, thanks to the Ghostbusters cartoon‘s version of the Boogeyman.) But there’s also other kinds of evil, and badness can come from people as well as supernatural creatures, which lesson is well-handled throughout the book.
In addition to the setting being unique and well-done, the characterization is also impressive. I think that having interesting, believable, likable characters goes a long way towards making this a book that is readable by adults as well as kids. The writing, for the most part, also bridges the gap well; easy enough to be accessible by younger readers, and straightforward enough to let older readers get straight to the story. The one exception is that there was a tendency to try to make! every bit of description exciting! by using lots of exclamation points! I’ve only seen that style used in kiddie lit, so while I’m sure it works fine for the book’s intended audience, it had the effect of yanking me out of the story whenever it appeared.(!) And that’s a shame, because otherwise, it was a good, exciting, absorbing story, with plenty of hints of interesting things to come. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Ten to twelve-year-old fantasy fans of both sexes (Trevor’s technically the main character, but there’s a girl who gets her fair share of the adventure – and screentime – too) who don’t mind scary stories will love this one, and it’s certainly fun reading for adults, too.
Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: All the doors were locked, all the windows were latched, and everything was perfectly secure the night the bogeyman came.
Cover Thoughts: Overall, I like it. Trevor running away from the snatching hands is nice and creepy, and the color palette and style sets the mood well. The face above the book looks more statue-like than I think it’s supposed to, though, and doesn’t really match the book.