Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

I finished reading Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It is the sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers. Even though this book runs over 500 pages, it is written at a middle grade level, about 5th or 6th grade. This is a highly enjoyable, well written story easily enjoyed by children as well as adults who grew up with the story of Peter Pan. 
Tower of London

I've read Peter and the Starcatchers, but I have very little memory of it. That did not hinder my enjoyment of the sequel. The occasional references to the first book are made either in passing or are explained. In Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and Tinker Bell (she prefers to be called a birdgirl, not a fairy) temporarily leave Mollusk Island and the Indians, Captain Hook, and the Lost Boys to return to London to warn Peter's friend Molly and her Father about the dangerous Lord Ombra. Lord Ombra, a creature of darkness, not a man, is ruthless and has the ability to steal people's shadows, effectively depriving them of what makes them thinking, feeling individuals. Molly and her family are Starcatchers, people who find the magic "starstuff" when it falls to earth and, at appointed times and places, return it to the sky. Starstuff is powerful and unpredictable, and in the hands of evil people and shadow thieves, is a danger to everyone.
The White Tower
This is a wonderful book. It has adventure and magic and action and wonderful characters and a great setting. I love reading books that take place at familiar locations. Much of the action of this novel takes place at the Tower of London and at Stonehenge. Cool. Peter is a fascinating character; in the previous book, exposure to starstuff changed his body so that he will never age. In this book, he has to learn to be mature mentally even though he will never be be able to physically. He has to come to terms with what this means for the relationships he has with his friends. Tinker Bell is smart, spunky, brave, and fun.
Heel Stone
A particularly difficult part of the novel for me was when Peter and Tinker Bell find themselves in a pet market in London. Tinker Bell is related to birds, and she is irate at seeing the terrified, caged birds. She tries to set them free and is caught by the man selling the birds. When Peter tries to get her back, the man beats him, lies to all the vendors around him about what is going on and gets Peter arrested. I can handle villains; it's easy to accept them as evil people and root against them. But this pet vendor was just a bad man, who spent his days trying to get ahead by hurting and cheating others. I found it difficult to read. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end.

This is a great book, and well worth the read. We get to see what happened to Peter before he met Wendy and her brothers. For anyone with kids, this would be fun to read as a family. Enjoy it, and keep an eye on your shadow!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great recommendation. We have a long car trip coming up and I usually read aloud. I own Peter and the Starcatchers but haven't read the whole thing yet. The beginning didn't grab me for some reason. But I'm not averse to skipping to the second installment. Maybe that's what we'll do!