Monday, 15 February 2016
The Shadow Keeper by Abi Elphinstone, Reviewed by Tamsyn Murray
The sequel to The Dreamsnatcher.
Moll Pecksniff is on the run. Desperate to stay hidden from the evil forces that seek her, she's taken refuge in a secret cove with the closest thing to a family she has. But the Shadowmasks are closing in and they'll stop at nothing to get hold of her. The only way to escape is to beat them and to do that, she'll need another amulet. The Oracle Bones tell her she'll find it in a smugglers' den along the coast, so Moll risks her life to follow their lead. The trouble is nothing is what it seems. The trouble is Moll isn't the only one seeking the amulet. The trouble is the Shadowmasks are always one step ahead...
I've been looking forward to the second book in this series for a while and it didn't disappoint. There's a tang of sea-salt in the air as Moll and her friends escape to the coast and do battle with smugglers and mer ghosts and kelpies. They're pursued throughout by owls with feathers that could slice you apart in seconds and find respite in unexpected places. As with the first book, Moll is inseparable from Gryff, her wildcat; their relationship is beautifully drawn and I was excited to discover a little more of Gryff's past. I liked the introduction of smuggler girl Scrap and found her a welcome addition to the little band of desperate adventurers. I also loved the riddle aspect of the story (although I failed to answer one correctly) and think this will appeal to readers. But it was Alfie who caught my eye the most - my heart ached for him as I read. I liked him in the first book and am very much intrigued to find out the rest of his story.
I devoured The Shadow Keeper in two sittings, despite my plans to savour it and take my time. Like the finest Turkish Delight, it's just too good to linger over - you'll want to cram it in as fast as possible too. I know the first book in the series has been popular at my Patron of Reading schools and I can tell they'll love this one too. It's an assured follow-up full of thrills and heart-stopping adventure - I can't wait for the next part of Moll's journey.
The Shadow Keeper is suitable for readers aged 9+. Published by Simon and Schuster, available from 25th February 2016.
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