The Thief of Farrowfell
Ravena Guron, illustrated by Alessia Trunfio
Twelve year old Jude Ripon is part of a criminal family and so desperate is she to impress the other family members, in particular the patriarch Grandleader, that she steals some rare magic from the Westons, one of the most powerful families in all of Farrowfell. Surely that will make them take notice of her so they’ll allow her to do more than keep watch while they carry out daring heists.
However, she learns that the magic – which can seriously impair her family’s business – is protected by a curse that can only be lifted by returning it to the rightful owners. This though isn’t possible, as Mr and Mrs Weston have been missing for more than a year.
Reluctantly, Jude joins forces with the Weston children to find their parents and break the curse. While doing so, she begins to question her loyalty to her own family and consider whether she really wants to be a true Ripon at all.
The three children search for clues and piece together evidence, taking care to evade any Lilthrum, the blood-thirsty monsters formed from raw magic, whose deadly attacks on people have recently been increasing at a disturbing rate. The more time Jude spends with Eli and Fin, she cannot but appreciate and enjoy their kindness and friendship, things she’s never before experienced. This makes her feel even more at odds with her upbringing in a criminal household.
With edible magic (I’ve not met that before), a flawed hero and a twisting, turning plot with Alessia Trunfio’s interesting chapter heading illustrations, this is the first of what will become a series; it’s hugely exciting and full of dark humour. I envisage children around Jude’s age will be eagerly anticipating the next adventure; this reviewer certainly is.