Thursday 3 September 2015

REVIEW: The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Bookish Details:
Pages: 320 Paperback
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: September 3rd 2015
But it From: Amazon - Amazon UK 

London, 1665. Fourteen-year-old Christopher Rowe is apprenticed to master apothecary Benedict Blackthorn. In Blackthorn's shop, Christopher learns the delicate secrets of transforming simple ingredients into powerful medicines, potions and weapons. His beloved master guides him with a firm, steady hand - instilling him with confidence and independence that prove increasingly vital as Christopher learns of a mysterious cult preying on the most learned men in London. The murders are growing closer and closer to home and soon Christopher is torn from the shop with only a page of cryptic clues from his master and the unambiguous warning: 'Tell no one'.

Helped by his best friend, Tom, Christopher must decipher his master's clues, following a trail of deceit towards an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.

My Review:

When I read the blurb for this book, it sounded full of exciting mysteries and adventure, and that is exactly what it delivered. With plenty of puzzles to unravel and codes to crack, The Blackthorn Key is gripping from the very start.

Christopher Rowe had spent his life in an orphanage until the day Benedict Blackthorn took him to be his apprentice. Learning as much as he can about being an apothecary, Christopher lives with Master Benedict in his London shop, helping customers with a variety of aliments. 

But something dark is happening on the streets of the city. Apothecaries are being murdered, their bodies turning up showing signs of torture. Rumours circulate about a cult being behind the attacks, but no one knows for certain, and Christopher is worried. Pretty soon, Christopher finds himself on the run. All he has are a series of clues from his Master. Clues that he hopes will help him discover why these attacks are happening, and how to stop them. 

The Blackthorn Key was such a fun read. I loved immersing myself into Christopher’s world of puzzles and conspiracies, especially since it was set during the 17th century! I really enjoyed the fact that this was a story set in historical London, rather than in a fantasy world.

Christopher was a wonderful character, and I adored his bond with his best friend, Tom. They had a great relationship and provided just the right amount of humour throughout the story. I also loved the precious moments between Christopher and Master Benedict, and their loyalty to each other. 

There were plenty of interesting characters to fill the pages, a lot of whom I didn’t know whether to trust or not. I spent most of the book trying to figure out who the bad guys were, and who Christopher could safely go to. It certainly made for tense reading!

The plot itself is gripping and fast-paced, and the twists and turns kept me reading well into the night. Just when you’ve think you’ve figured something out, you discover there’s a lot more to the story. I was utterly hooked on every chapter. 

This book truly was a joy to read. It has a little bit of everything to offer, even a sidekick pigeon. This is a stunning debut and I’m definitely excited to see what the author has in store next!

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