- Series: The Cronus Chronicles (Book 1)
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 24, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 141690588X
- ISBN-13: 978-1416905882
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shadow Thieves (The Cronus Chronicles) Paperback – April 24, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-9-With a wit and cynicismthat will enchant most readers, Ursu weaves an extraordinary tale filled with Greek gods, sick and shadowless children, and a plot to overthrow the Lord of the Dead. Charlotte Mielswetzki is in such a bad mood that she doesn't notice a freakish man in a tuxedo following her home from school. But something extraordinary is about to happen. Charlotte's cousin Zee lives in England, where all of his friends are becoming mysteriously and seriously ill. Sent to Charlotte's family in America, he discovers that the same thing is happening to his new friends. It turns out that Philonecron, born in the Underworld, is determined to overthrow Hades and builds an army from children's stolen shadows, getting at them through Zee. The quick-paced novel takes readers on a danger-filled journey from the Midwest to Hades, where Charlotte and Zee make their final stand against the evil threatening to destroy the world of the dead. The Shadow Thieves is a great addition to this newly popular Greek-myth genre. Readers of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Hyperion) and Jane Yolen's Young Heroes series (HarperCollins) will delight in this new helping of myth-based fiction.-Lisa Marie Williams, Fairfax County Public Library System, Reston, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 5-8. Forget heaven and hell, the Greek underworld isn't a myth! When it's time to leave the corporeal world, everyone makes the journey to Hades' realm, where they spend eternity as a Shade, first waiting in line to cross the river Styx, and thereafter roaming aimlessly. All is status quo until power-hungry Philonecron resolves to reanimate the dead with blood from the living, create an army from the shadows of living children, and usurp Hades' throne. Enter Charlotte Mielswetzski, unwitting accomplice; her cousin Zee, a boy with an unusual bloodline and an unusual shadow; and a kitten named Mew. The cousins come to understand they are at the center of a nefarious underworldly plot, and must protect themselves, foil Philonecron, and reunite the children with their shadows. This story is charmingly silly, but has enough serious moments to carry the plot forward. It unwinds with such unabashed cheerfulness and gusto that readers will find much to enjoy, especially if they can connect with its mythological base. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Charlotte is shy and does not feel she fits in with others in her school. When she wants to get out of something, she lies - very convincingly. Zee is her cousin from across the pond. He is proper, of mixed heritage and does not feel he fits in with others in his new school.
Zee comes to America to live with Charlotte's family under mysterious circumstances. They both envy but like each other. The adventure starts when children in Charlotte's town get sick just like those in Zee's hometown. They are forced to work together to solve the mystery and save the children. As they work together thery learn a lot about themselves and how others see them versus how they see themselves.
It was a fast, enjoyable read.
But then, something wonderful happens. At page 37 Charlotte's cousin Zee shows up, the plot starts filling in, Charlotte calms down, the author butts out, and the book takes off. Charlotte stops being a whiney know-it-all sadsack. The author stops adding a rim shot to every funny line. The plot stops wandering. Interesting secondary characters appear. Some very clever and subtle deadpan humor seeps into the narrative. The book becomes interesting, funny and entertaining.
The book is sort of Percy Jackson-lite. The Greek god angles are all clearly explained. The humor is broader. The adventure is less complicated. The characters are less developed. The villains are more sketchy. There's less ambiguity about what's going on. The whole work is just more accessible for a younger reader.
So, if you want to try a "Greek god" fantasy and your reader may be a little young for Percy, it seems to me that this would be a really good bet.
That said, I am also looking for a summer read for the various DGC's who stop by for a chapter or two most afternoons. You know, front porch, fan breeze, iced tea and soft drinks, sometimes a store-bought cookie or two. Or even a homemade something-or-other, if the older DGC's want to make one, then eat it.
This is it. They'll LOVE it!
I like the idea that the story can stand by itself--no cliff-hangers here. Especially since we're going to have to wait a year for the next volume, then another year for the third one. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
Then, the humor will definitely appeal to my pre- and early-teen DGC's--it did to me! Having worked many years in bureaucracies (as we all do, these days) Hades was very familiar, and more apt than most kids are likely to realize!
The writing is good. There's enough suspense to prickle the neck, but not so much as to give nightmares to the littlest ones. (I wouldn't give Neal Gaimon's CORALINE to a really sensitive child, for instance, and I hae me doots about several others . . . .) On the other hand, have you SEEN what cartoons are like on TV these days? Sheesh.
I suspect that many conservative Christians will have great trouble with the premise of the book--that the Greek version of the afterlife is the 'real' one, but remember, this is fiction!
I think kids ALWAYS understand the difference, if one explains.