Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Child Thief by Brom

The Child Thief by Brom

I'll admit it: I often judge a book by it's cover. If it doesn't look cool, it probably won't interest me.

When I saw the cover for Brom's "The Child Thief", I skipped over it. Three times. I thought it was a vampire novel--and I'm not very fond of vampires. (Especially vampires who sparkle, but that's for another time).

And then I read the back of the book.


The Child Thief is a spellbindingly dark re-imagining of Peter Pan. By using Peter's folk-and-myth roots, Brom creates a twisted playground that grabs you, and never lets go.

Neverland (though it's never actually called that) is dying; its magic is fading. Peter, a golden-eyed, red-haired boy, travels between his world and the world of men in order to find children to join in his devil clan. But he doesn't try to find just any children—he goes to the neglected, the abused, the molested, the troubled, and, as soon as they are willing, he leads them down the misty way to his island; away to join his group of 'devils'—his army-in-training. As their leader, he wants to amass a force and drive the magic-killing Flesh Eaters away.

I've always thought of Peter the way he was portrayed in The Child Thief: old on the inside, young on the outside; fierce, but loyal; playful, but a killer. He's a fearless, charismatic leader who is nothing more than a boy. But in Barrie's classic, you only see glimpses of his wild side.

Brom's prose is beautiful, and poetic, but not verbose. His descriptions are vivid and--for lack of a better word--melodic. His fight/violence scenes are compelling and realistic. At one point, about mid-way through the book, I actually felt my heartbeat speeding up. I can't remember the last time that happened while reading.

Illustrations come at the beginning of every chapter, and there are portraits of some of the main characters about halfway through the book. The artwork is worth the $20 price all on their own.

The Child Thief succesfully took the seemingly-innocent Peter Pan and turned him into the wicked, the wild, and the macabre. In a way, it's sort of like Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game'—another of my favorites. It shows what kids can do when you hand them a weapon and give them power.

You can find out more about The Child Thief, and check out some of the stunning artwork here: Brom Art

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