Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord

The Thief Lord
The Thief Lord is a magical story about two young brothers, Prosper and Bo, who, after the death of their mother, run away from their evil aunt and uncle who want to keep cute little Bo and send Prosper off to boarding school. They end up in Venice, Italy, a place their mother had always told them stories about. In Venice, they meet other orphaned children and quickly make a home with them in an old closed up theatre. One of their housemates is a boy called, Scipio, The Thief Lord. Not much is known about him, except that he steals riches to give to the poor children. When Prop and Bo's aunt and uncle come to Venice and hire a private detective to find them, things get hard on the children. This is a wonderful story about unexpected friendships, a magical merry-go-round, and the innocent spirit of childhood.

I absolutely loved this book. Cornelia Funke did a spectacular job at capturing the thoughts and wishes of young children, possibly why I loved this so much. I felt like I was a kid again, roaming the streets for things to steal with Bo, Prop, and the rest of the gang. I grew to love a lot of the characters. You barely know them in the beginning, but by the end, it feels as though they are your best friends.

The story's plot was very entertaining, and even suspenseful at parts, which says a lot about the quality of the writing in my opinion, since this was written as a book for children. There is a little bit of mystery throughout the story. The children know they have to steal something for a wealthy client, but they don't know what it is, or it's significance, for quite a while. There were also a lot of unexpected twists. I loved how the children form a friendship with Victor, the private eye. I also loved learning about who The Thief Lord really was. I was shocked to find out! The ending of the book was really beautiful. At first, I thought it was kind of weird (I won't give anything away-you'll have to read the book if you want to know what I'm talking about), but then I went to the author's website and read her Q&A, and she tells her readers why she ended it the way she did. Makes perfect and beautiful sense to me now.

My favorite characters would have to be Victor the private eye (for his love for his pet turtles, as well as his cunning yet very clumsy personality), Scipio (aka The Thief Lord because although he is but a child, he is constantly trying to act like an adult, much like most of us did when we were young), and Ida Spavento (for her quick-thinking, wittiness, and love for the children even though they were pests to her).

I highly recommend anyone who loves a beautifully written shorter novel with spritely children as the main characters. It made me feel like a child again! I adore everything Cornelia Funke does (it all started with the Inkheart Trilogy, which I'll elaborate more on in a future post). She has a brand new book out this Fall and I can't wait to discover a whole new world and meet new characters. I'll be posting about that soon too.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from The Thief Lord:

Pg 191: "But the children just wandered off without paying him anymore attention. They only had eyes for the snow. The cold flakes settled on their faces and their hair. Bo gleefully licked one off his lip. He stretched his arms wide as if he wanted to catch them all. Hornet just looked up at the sky, blinking. It hadn't snowed in Venice for years."
Now isn't that just the perfect description of a child's first snowfall?!

And this next quote is so true:

Pg157: "Ten minutes can be a long time when you're waiting with a beating heart for something you don't understand, something you don't really want to know."

Title: The Thief Lord
Author: Cornelia Funke
Date of Publication: 2001
Number of Pages: 345
Source: Bought from book store

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