The Child Thief

I start a lot of my reviews by talking about where I heard about the book I just finished, but for once, I have no idea.  I remember reading online somewhere (maybe a blog, who knows) about this book and it sounded intriguing enough to purchase.  All in all, the book was an interesting story that did some interesting things, but it was not without its faults.

Edit: I should have remembered to mention this when I first posted the review, but it slipped my mind.  Brom started his career as a visual artist, and that shows strongly in this book.  There are illustrations at the beginning of every chapter that depict something from that chapter, be it a character, a scene, or one of the monsters that appears in it.  My copy also included several pages in the middle with full color illustrations of some of the major characters.  The illustrations were all wonderful and worked well with the overall story.  Even if you don’t plan on buying the book, if you see it in a bookstore, takes some time and flip through to see the illustrations.

Book Stats

476 pages



This book is a retelling of Peter Pan, and obviously Peter is one of the main characters.  I liked reading about Peter, he was childish and immature in many ways, but he also had a very dark aspect to his character.  The other main character in the story was Nick, a 14 year old boy who is rescued from his life in NYC by Peter.  Nick in many ways is a normal 14 year old thrust into a very bad situation.  He is being harassed by a drug dealer who has threatened his mother and grandmother and wants nothing more than to get away.  Peter was a pretty consistent character throughout most of the book, until the end when he rapidly changes without really having a good reason to.  Nick was a bit more puzzling throughout the book.  When you’re young you tend to think in absolutes, but he flips back and forth far too many times in the story, and it started to become unbelievable that he just keeps doing so.  All said, the characters were interesting but inconsistent.


The book is mostly set in Avalon, a large island where Peter takes the children that he rescues/steals from the modern world.  Hundreds of years ago the island was discovered by colonists from England, and then sealed off by the magic of Modron which traps the colonists on the island.  Unfortunately this also causes a disease to spread through the island that is slowly killing all of the magic.


I sort of discussed this in the setting section, but Peter is trying to save the island from the colonists who are trying to destroy it.  Except the colonists aren’t really trying to destroy it, they really just want to get away from the island.  While this is going on, you also have some intrigue going on as Peter is dealing with feuds he has had for hundreds of years with some other inhabitants of the island, as well as Nick trying to adjust to life on the island while he is constantly waffling between hating his old life and wishing he never left it.


I wanted to like this book a lot more than I ended up liking the book.  The idea of the story is brilliant, and in the beginning it is very well told.  As the book continues, there were just too many times where it started to bother me.  Nick was very inconsistent as the story moved on, and some parts of the story felt very rushed at the end.  I was also a little upset with the ending.  (I’ll try not to give away too much, but there are some slight spoilers ahead.)  It seemed like with the ending he was just killing characters for the sake of having them die.  I don’t have a problem with characters dying in books, and if done well it works out wonderfully and makes the book better because of it.  In this book, the deaths came across as meaningless to me, which undermined what could have been a much better ending.

Along with the story aspects that bothered me, there were several times when I was reading and a line in the story bothered me.  At one point Peter compares some people falling over to bowling pins, which seemed out of context for me.  Another example is towards the end of the book when the Captain refers to the back of the boat.  If he had been a ship captain for years, he wouldn’t have said back, he would have said stern.  There were a lot of times where the text knocked me out of the story because of a poorly used metaphor or phrase.  There were also a lot of times where he used profane language just to use profanity. I have no problem with swearing (listen to me when I’m bowling if I throw a bad shot, I could make a drunken sailor blush), but it seemed out of place in this book.

Overall Score

The idea was very good, and there are flashes of brilliance in the book, but ultimately the execution doesn’t do the idea justice.  It’s still a decent book, but it could have been amazing.


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