Thieves of Weirdwood

Holt. (Thieves of Weirdwood: Bk. 1). Apr. 2020. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250302885.
Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-old thieves Arthur and Wally need to score some quick cash. Wally’s brother, Graham, is in dire straits—stuck in the hospital with a huge unpaid bill, while Arthur’s ne’er-do-well father, Harry, owes serious money to loan sharks. Arthur thinks he has found the answer to their problems when he sees a mysterious mansion, and he enlists Wally’s lockpicking skills to get in to steal treasure. Little do they know, they’ve unwittingly stumbled into Weirdwood Manor, and even more nightmares await. Weirdwood Manor is the headquarters of a magical order protecting the divide between the Real and Imaginary worlds. When the Imaginary world enters the Real world, havoc ensues, with people being turned into porcelain dolls and monsters attacking unsuspecting people. Wally likes to think of himself as the “Gentleman Thief,” but when he and Arthur are caught, they are at risk in both the Real and Imaginary worlds. Wally is befriended by Breeth, a ghost girl only he can see who can inhabit any living being. With Breeth at his side assisting him into and out of the hospital and manor, he hopes to be able to save his brother, Arthur’s dad, and all of Kingsport before it’s too late. Unfortunately, the novel’s plot lines are fairly convoluted and only the most diehard fantasy lovers will likely appreciate this ghostly adventure. The illustrations are slightly creepy and mysterious, which do complement the story well.
VERDICT Shivering’s new fantasy series enters into an already crowded genre, and unfortunately the characters and plot will fall flat for many readers.

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