The Blackthorn Key Review (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the firebomb)

The Blackthorn Key, by Kevin Sands

The Blackthorn Key hits all the right notes for me.

I've always had a strong affinity for anything involving alchemy. Fullmetal Alchemist is a guilty pleasure I can always indulge in. The first books I wrote all had an alchemy aspect lingering not-so-far beneath the surface.

So when I found out Kevin Sands' debut middle grade featured alchemy front and center in a pseudo-historical setting, I started salivating almost immediately.

And the book doesn't disappoint. It's a fun action romp with tons of little mysteries to keep you going, and a dark side that'll catch you off guard at times. There's humor to brighten what might otherwise be a dark story (have I mentioned I like dark? I do), and a belief in the capacity of these kids to solve big problems that always puts a big smile on my face. This was one of my favorites I've read recently.

What The Blackthorn Key is:

A book for young readers that rewrites history in a fun way, and lets its characters stretch their mental capacities. Action, danger, loss, and an ability to overcome all odds.

Who it's for:

Kids who are looking for an action-packed adventure, and don't mind getting a little dirt on them in the process.

Who it's not for:

Kids who are looking for a bright and cheerful popcorn read. This book can get heavy at times--a fact I loved--but someone looking to laugh the night away will likely come away feeling a little gloomy.

The Blackthorn Key and its sequel Mark of the Plague are available now. A third book, The Assassin's Curse, comes out on September 5, 2018.

Reminder of Sean's review policy

Sean doesn't give bad reviews of books. If there's a book he didn't quite click with, he just won't review it. Odds are, it just wasn't a book for him, and someone else will love it. Follow the link for more on Sean's Review Policy.

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© 2017 Sean Easley | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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