I seem to be sick again, so this review might not be as coherent as others.
The Thief Lord follows Prosper and Bo, two brothers who have run away from home to Venice after their mother died. Their mothers’ sister wants to adopt Bo (because he is five years old and looks adorable), but can’t be bothered with Prosper, and the brothers do not want to be separated. They are taken in by a mysterious “Thief Lord” who looks after them, along with a few other homeless kids.
I really enjoyed the setting – Venice is described in such lovely and magical terms that it seems like a character rather than just a city where the story takes place. I expected this book to have more fantasy than it actually did – it’s mostly just a book about the adventures of a group of kids.
Most of the characters were fun to read about, but I had a hard time liking Scipio, the Thief Lord. I didn’t really know what to think about the way his story progressed. [Spoilers follow]. Most stories I’ve read about kids who don’t like their family end up with them realising that their family loves them and that they actually have a pretty good life. Scipio’s story ends with him turning into an adult and never seeing his family again! I didn’t think his life was that bad – he just had a stern father. Also, how does it work when a boy that hasn’t gone through puberty yet suddenly turns into an adult man? That ending was what John Scalzi calls the flying snowman, for me. [Spoilers end]. However, I did like that there wasn’t a “message” to the story – things just happened, and it didn’t end completely happily.
Overall, the book was an entertaining read, and I think I should have liked it more than I actually did. I’ll still read more of Funke’s work, but I’m not in a hurry.
This is book 5 of 25 of my Dec 11, 2011 book challenge.