Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Grave Robber’s Apprentice (ARC)

The Grave Robber’s Apprentice by Allan Stratton

Genre: Mid-Grade – Fantasy/Adventure
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Range: 10+
Pages: 256
Book Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis (via Amazon): Hans doesn't know who he is or where he came from. When he was a baby, he washed ashore in a wooden box and was adopted by the conniving grave robber, Knobbe the Bent. Now fate has thrown him together with Angela von Schwanenberg, a young countess fleeing for her life from the evil Archduke Arnulf and his dreaded Necromancer. Together, these friends are on a daring quest to discover Hans' true identity and to save Angela's parents from the archduke.

Join Hans and Angela on their grand adventure as they ride through the depths of the great forest, sled down a mountain in a coffin, and sneak along the secret passageways of the archduke's palace. The Grave Robber's Apprentice is a world of highwaymen, hermits, and dancing bears; and of a boy separated from his family by the sea.

In this world anything is possible with luck and imagination—even for a grave robber's apprentice.

Scoot’s Review:
The Grave Robber’s Apprentice was a fabulous mid-grade fairytale adventure. It had princesses, evil magicians, traveling performers and an unlikely hero. The pace of the story was great – it never dragged and had a lot of action while still managing to develop emotion and show character depth. It was clearly written and easy to read; I never found myself tripping over the story. The plot was interesting and had themes of family, love and true bravery - along with a lot of fun adventure. Hans and Angela were both great characters and you quickly became attached to each of them. A few well placed clues lead me to figuring out the ‘big twist’ early on, but it didn’t deter at all from my enjoyment of the book. The story wasn’t all soft and fluffy; there were some definitely creepy parts with haunting deaths and disturbing ‘weevils’. I enjoyed the fact that this was a fairytale without magic, but the tale was still magical. And for the hopelessly-romantic like me, there was even a wink of romance enfolded in the tale. Although the author wrapped up the story nicely, I would not mind reentering the world of Hans and Angela again. Be sure to add The Grave Robber’s Apprentice to your wish list!

*Notable Quotable:
“The boy had stopped crying. He looked up at Knobbe with big solemn eyes.
‘Don’t play your baby tricks on me,’ Knobbe warned.
'Your sort are all alike. Sneaky little schemers, out to make a fellow weak.’”
                       -Alan Stratton, The Grave Robber’s Apprentice


Random Note: Want to preview the book before you buy it? Go to HarperCollins site HERE to read the first few chapters for free!

 *(this quote is from page 5 of the ARC of the novel. Please see the final printed edition of the novel to verify accuracy)


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