Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Shadowkeeper by Abi Elphinstone

The sea breathes quietly tonight, a sprawled darkness  rolling in and out. It slips over beaches and laps at harbour walls. But further along the coast, where the cliffs turn ragged and shards of rock jut into the water,
strewn like broken gravestones, the current is stronger.

Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (25 Feb. 2016)

320 pages in paperback

Cover by Thomas Flintham

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that's always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it's too late?
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Read the prologue here

Reviewed by K. M. Lockwood

Regular readers may remember how much I liked The Dreamsnatcher – Moll Pecksniff’s first outing. (Here’s the review). Well, Abi Elphinstone’s pulled off one of the hardest things – a second book which is better than the debut. It still has all the ingredients that delighted readers in the first: a wild yet loveable heroine, lots of peril and courage, outdoor escapades in spade-loads, and humour.

This time, though, there’s more depth to the friendships and growth in Moll’s character. Through the excitement, fear and magic both she and the reader learn a great deal about loyalty, trust and love. That sounds a bit heavy – but it definitely is not a stodgy or preachy read. The action cracks along – with some ‘baddies’ you will love to hate – and I will warn you, some rather sad moments. 

Still, in the same way that the liveliness of the characters and their dashing adventures feature on the striking cover from Thomas Flintham, the story gallops along joyously. The only drawback for readers is that the third book won’t be out till 2017!

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