Title: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief
Author: Bobbie Peers
Translator: Tara Chace
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s
Description: William is in hiding with his family after the mysterious disappearance of his grandfather. But when his extraordinary talent for cracking codes is discovered, William is kidnapped and taken to the secretive Institute for Post-Human Research.
Because someone is after him. Someone who needs William’s special skills to find the last remaining traces of a strange and powerful substance called Luridium.
William will have to use all of his ingenuity and code-cracking skills to find out the secrets the Institute is hiding. Impossible puzzles, cybernetic creatures and bloodthirsty robots stand in his way.
My Review: Wow! This is a surprisingly fun read despite the initial hesitation I had when I began to read this book. William is a boy who loves to crack codes and is very smart but his parents are worried about him. When an exhibition at a local museum shows off The Impossible Puzzle, a puzzle that no-one in the world has yet solved, William is desperate to get a peek at it. But things soon go wrong and William find himself running for his life.
The book begins with a scene at Victoria Station in London. The scene is brief but sets up the mystery of this story right away. I initially had doubts on whether I would get into this book. Although I was curious to find out what was happening, the writing in the book didn’t really feel all that great and it didn’t feel as urgent as the story probably should have been. I’m used to a slightly different style of writing in kids books these days and this felt a little less punchy and the first few scenes which were supposed to be exciting just felt oddly predictable. However I kept on reading and found myself progressively sucked more and more into the tale.
It wasn’t until the pages about the Institute that I really got hooked. The story is described as a fantasy but given the fact that it focuses a lot on technology I’d say it could be classed as children’s science fiction too. Although the book is listed as a thriller there is some humour thrown in as well. There are robots, a lot of robots, at the institute and it’s here that I really started to enjoy the story. It becomes an exciting adventure and a really unpredictable one. I’m surprised at just how imaginative some of the story is and something that happens in the Archives really surprised me.
The whole story has a really good conclusion and I enjoyed the fact I still didn’t know what was going to happen even right to the end. The book is definitely a fun filled adventure thriller with fantasy/science fiction throughout. While the writing could have been a bit better and faster, perhaps a problem of the translation rather than the original story, it was still a good read and I think the target audience of kids won’t be bothered at all by this. Some adults might enjoy reading this too, it really picks up the pace after the first few chapters and is really surprising with lots of twists. This book has a great ending as a stand alone but is apparently only the first of a series and it’ll be interesting to see how popular this series will be in the UK, the original story was written in Norwegian.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think? Is this a book you’d be interested in? Please do comment 🙂 You can also find me in these places: