Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Thief Lord: Cornelia Funke

Prosper and Boniface (Bo) are brothers who have run away to Venice. After the death of their parents, greedy aunt Esther offered to adopt the adorably angelic Bo, but wanted nothing to do with the slightly older Prosper. Refusing to be separated, the boys run away to Venice—a city their mother frequently spoke of as wonderful and magical. They are soon adopted into a group of other street children who are living in an abandoned movie theatre. They live off their wits and the money they earn by selling loot that the Thief Lord steals from the grand houses of Venice. When the Thief Lord is asked to take on a special mission of thievery, his own secrets are brought to light, and the band of runaways may never be the same.

The Thief Lord is an extremely entertaining story, full of mystery and excitement, action and tenacity. Cornelia Funke earned my adoration with her Inkspell novels, and her creative imagination. The story of the Thief Lord is really about Prosper and Bo and their search for a safe and comfortable home. The adventures along the way—starring Scipio, Riccio, Mosca, and Hornet—are a thrill ride, exposing each character as a dimensional individual.

Ultimately, the plot revolves around a magical merry-go-round located on the Isola Segreta—the secret island. The legend says that the merry-go-round will make children into adults, and adults into children. Of course, as a group of young runaways constantly harassed by authorities, the group of children is very interested in finding the merry-go-round and changing themselves into adults as soon as possible. There is a rather heavy-handed moral here that explicitly illustrates that no one should take their age for granted. When a child is turned into an adult, he is at a loss as to what an adult does all day. When an adult is turned into a child, he is frustrated at his inability to be taken seriously. The lesson is laid on pretty thick, but I suppose that’s to be expected in a young adult novel.

Overall, this is a really fun novel. It’s kind of mystical and magical, but it’s also mysterious and intriguing. I think it’s a fun novel for the young and old alike.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to read Funke but I just can't get hooked. I wonder why. I think I read a lot of biographies and current fiction when I was a young adult and I don't have the patience for Young Adult Literature - a huge bummer since my students are the targets. Nice to hear from you - you write such lovely reviews.