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I plucked Island of Thieves off the shelf absentmindedly when I visited the library on a borrowing-spree, and admittedly, I wasn’t expecting anything much. In fact, I had borrowed it for my little brother, who is an eight-year-old. However, our paths crossed sooner than I expected, as before a piano lesson I glanced at the relatively interesting cover and decided to bring it along. A decision that I both would and wouldn’t regret. This mild thriller and mystery by Josh Lacey, though a little off my age and reading level, was enjoyable from the start.

From the perspective of twelve-year-old Tom Trelawney, the pace is set quite early in the book, with the story quickly jumping from place to place as the adventure progresses to the more exciting parts. Reminiscent of Gordan Korman’s action-packed novels, the story brings unknowing Tom into a world of gang leaders, fake painting sellers, and long lost treasure. The action and plot are relatively simple and understandable and the mystery is mostly laid out in front of you. However, with the addition of a few complicated parts here and there, this is still an intriguing story to read.

Similar to the likes of Spy School and The 39 Clues, this book packs adventure and a treasure-hunt-style mystery together in one package. This book is a great stepping stone to see if you like the genre, from which you can progress to more intense and deeper stories in the young adult section, or prominent series such as City Spies. However, for younger readers, this book will be action and adventure at its best. 

The mystery is also so-so, but is also the reason I like it, because it can be cracked quite easily, at least compared to most other books in this genre. However, it still is quite interesting and fun to read the clues and figure it out as the story goes on, imagining yourself in the position of the main character and his uncle, relying on the mystery to keep themselves alive. They will have to follow the clues to find the treasure within an afternoon—or else get ditched by the gang leader. 

So all in all? What did I think? Well… For me, the book wasn’t extremely special in its category, with so many other great books, but was ultimately worth a read. However, as I have said multiple times before, the book is highly recommended for readers ages 5-8 as it is a relatively rare thriller for that age group. So, if you are looking for a random read, nab this book and in the comments below, tell me what you think! 


Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey. Clarion Books, 2013. Buy the book here and help support Stone Soup in the process!

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