Monday, July 4, 2016

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, 2015

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“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.

(384 pages)

I thought I'd like this book a lot more than I did.

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I went in expecting a rather fluffy read about kids, puzzles, alchemy, and adventure. And while all of those components were definitely in the book, they somehow didn't come together in a very light way. Instead I got a grim read, with lots of blood and death and corpses. Christopher comes across more as being foolhardy and immature than anything else, and his best friend Tom's blind loyalty seems honestly pretty misplaced at times.

I don't know. Maybe Christopher does pull through, shows that he's made of better stuff than I originally thought, but no matter what happens in the end of the book I just can't bring myself to be as invested as I should be in what happens to him. Perhaps it's because the book begins with Christopher doing something truly idiotic (building a cannon inside . . . and then testing it), and then immediately starts putting Christopher into situations that might be unpleasant for him but which I don't care about much because I don't know him or his world very well.

There's honestly not much more I have to say. If you've read this book and loved it, then good for you; I don't think it's bad or anything, it just really didn't strike any chords in me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

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