Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Shadow Thieves

A review! A review! After many posts of a non-review persuasion I am finally seating myself to do some real live type-it-up critiquing.
There has been a rash of Greek mythology publications lately, probably spurred by the Percy Jackson series *cheers from a far-off crowd of adoring Percy fans*. The Shadow Thieves intrigued me though. Being the first novel of the Cronus Chronicles it outlines the eruption of an exhaustion plague, an exiled half-blooded shade, and the descent of Hades from cool, furiously flaming overlord to wimpy, not deserving immortality, love-sick businessman.

Our story begins with a frustrated female lead named Charlotte, whose own endearing cynicality redeems her. She is an underachiever, a brilliant liar, and appears unphased by the news that her cousin Zee will be coming from England to live with her family. But when the boy in question arrives he drags a mysterious illness with him which soon infects Charlotte's school and everyone she holds dear. Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Hades has banished a rabble rouser by the name of Philonecron, who goes by even the more ominous title of Phil.

Once exiled to the barren plains of the creatively named land of Exile, Phil (diabolically) begins to raise an army of shadow children to overtake the Underworld knowing fully that it is only by the blood of Zee, Charlotte's cousin, that the shades can be commanded. Sapping the boy's strength whilst Zee is unaware, Phil begins the chain of events that leads to a secret mall passageway, harpies, and a frustrated Charon (ferry guy for the River Styx).

I was, admittedly, confused by the writing style, which is a rather unique form of narration involving "audience" participation. But the humor proved humorous and did not fall flat (nothing like a bad joke to ruin your afternoon). The characters develop spines through the course of events and you find yourself actually liking them despite first impressions. Unfortunately, it rides its humorous tone for far too long and takes up half of its precious pages with background information. All the same, the second half of the book is the novel equivalent of forgiveness.
The verdict is in and I rate this as a strong 5 out of our up to 7 scale.

Dreaming about slaying harpies,
Aella Siofra


Aislinn Ai said...

This seems Persephone-esque to me... is it?

It sounds good. I shall have to read it.

Gods of death are always quite entertaining, are they not?

-- Aislinn Ai

Aella Siofra said...

I agree. They never fail to amuse. And a 10 point score to yourself for picking up on the Persephone allusion. She is indeed the downfall of Hades's coolosity.

Bri said...

No offense, but I am very confused by your plot summary. But if you say it is good it must be so I will add it too my list.

Aella Siofra said...

Grazi Bri. I shall edit on up due to your suggestion. Its important that I know when things are...sticky.

Byamim said...

Did you know…

Gods of death love apples.*

I'll have to go read this: Greek mythology + kickass title + reasonably good review = interesting.

*Now catch the reference :)

amiefina crossazane said...

ueah! i've influenced review-posting! and it's a good book! though sadly a book i've already read! yes, i have read like, everything. except some really obvious things. but many obscure things.
i read that one, like last summer i think. was very good, though i do agree with the "wierd narration" thing.

have you read the sequel? it's called *blanks out and goes to look* The Siren Song. has much cruise ships and a little more romance for Charlotte. less awesome cover, but so many more aqua suits. i got an ARC of it and was lucky. cheered, because i'm not sure i would have gone to buy the book itself. it's been out for a while though. should read it. was quite good. wonder when the third one's showing up.

*cheers faintly for Percy, but not for Thalia and her bad musical and general not-good-character ness*