The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

(Cover picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy.  Here, hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets…

After escaping from their cruel aunt and uncle, orphans Prosper and Bo meet a mysterious boy who calls himself the “Thief Lord”.  Clever and charming, the Thief Lord leads a band of street children who enjoy making mischief.  But the Thief Lord also has a dark secret.  And suddenly Prosper and Bo find themselves on a fantastical journey to a forgotten place.  What they discover there will change the course of their destiny.

In The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke transports readers to the enchanting world of Venice, a city filled with canals, gondolas and ancient buildings.  But there’s a dark side to this beautiful city, a side that no one hears about—the side that homeless children like Riccio, Mosca, Hornet, Bo and Prosper deal with every day.  Luckily, the children are taken care of by the Thief Lord, Scipio (as in Scipio Africanus, the long-haired Roman general).  Of course, not everything is as it seems.

Cornelia Funke’s writing style is second to none when it comes to children/tween literature.  She doesn’t usually write stories that take place in the real world, but when she does, she still manages to insert her signature hint of magic.  The Thief Lord seems like your average realistic fiction novel, until the climax, where the magic that was there all along finally reveals itself.  And trust me, even the most attentive reader won’t be able to predict half of the things that happen during the climax.

Full of twists and turns, heartbreak and humour, The Thief Lord will captivate its young readers.  Readers will also be able to identify with at least one of the children, if not all of them, which is the beauty of Cornelia Funke’s stories.  Her writing is fantastic and her pacing is excellent, but what sets her apart from many writers is that she writes characters you will always remember.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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