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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Petal reviews The Shadow Keeper by Abi Elphinstone

Petal loves to read (watch this space for We Are Reading), and reviewed Abi Elphinstone's first ever book, The Dreamsnatcher, last year.  This week the next novel in the series - The Shadow Keeper - is released, and Petal literally screamed when a copy arrived in the post for her to review.  


Petal got to keep the book in exchange for her review but understands the importance of being honest about her thoughts, and has promised to be truthful.  She told me last time that she likes the idea of other parents and young people choosing - or avoiding - something based on her recommendation, and that she wanted to share her opinion because it might help someone else make up their mind.

As with The Dreamsnatcher, Petal devoured the book in a couple of days and asked me to give her a list of the questions from last time (standard book review type questions from around and about).  She typed up her responses and I've cut and pasted them here, but they're all Petal's own answers in her own words (apart from a minor edit marked with ** to retain a little mystery!).  


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Introduce your book.



This book is called The Shadow Keeper. It's by Abi Elphinstone, and is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher that I read last year. It's an adventure and friendship story to be read by young people my age (I am 11) or a bit younger.


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Summarize the book without giving away the ending.


Moll is a gypsy, forced out of her home forest by the Shadow Masks. Moll now lives in a secret cove by the sea with some of her camp. She is the most recent Guardian Of The Oracle Bones, just like her parents were before her, which means soon she will have to throw the Oracle Bones and go on a quest to find the next amulet, containing her ma's soul (her pa's was in the amulet she found in The Dreamsnatcher). Luckily her wildcat, Gryff, will be with her every step of the way.


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What did you think of the main character?



I really like Moll because she is so feisty and fierce and funny.

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Which character could you relate to best?



I find Moll the easiest character to understand, because we have loads of things in common with each other, like we both care a lot about a lot of things, like our human friends and the animals we're friends with. This isn't from the book, but I did a test on Abi's website and it said which character from the books you're most like, and I was most like Moll.
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Petal dressed as Moll last year for World Book Day, complete with handmade catapult and fluffy wildcat

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Were there any other especially interesting characters?



Siddy is really interesting - he has an unusual name which I liked because my name is unusual too. He is a bit odd because his dream is for his pet worm, Porridge the 2nd, to win a race. I also like Scrap because she is funny and clever and loyal, which is a really important thing for a friend to be.

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From whose point of view is the story told?



The story is told from the third persons perspective, so when you read it you find out about everything that happens. You get to find out what everyone is thinking as well, so it's as if the third person can read everyone's mind and be everywhere at the same time.


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Were the characters and their problems believable?



The story was written in a believable way, but I don't think that very many people have a real life as exciting as Moll's. But it isn't impossible that there could be gypsies who get forced out of their forest and go and live on a beach. Also, you could be scared that some people are trying to kill you and your cat. I love stories where you get sort of pulled into someone else's world and their life is really exciting and then when you've finished the book your own life and thd real world seems a bit boring compared to the book world.

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How did the main character change during the novel?



Moll grew up a lot in this book, and she realised that you can't always understand why people you care about do things you don't like, but that your friends are really important and you should trust them, even if you don't understand why they are doing what they are doing.

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Did you learn something new from the book?



I learnt that gypsys aren't just in forests and fields, which is what I kind of assumed in the first place.

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Was the book different from what you expected?


No - I expected it to be really good because it was written by Abi, and I loved her first book.  I thought that it would be about finding another amulet because at the end of The Dreamsnatcher Moll still hadn't found the one with her ma's soul in, but I didn't know what her adventure would be like.

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What alternative title would you choose for this book?

The Secret Cove
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Share a quote or two from the book.



"And then Hermit had come along - a crab who terrified of absolutely everything, even his own pincers." and " "I'm going to pack" Siddy frowned "Pack what? All you own is a bunch of catapults."
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Share a favorite scene from the book.



My favourite scene was on the island when they are going to The Blinking Eye and they rest by the Oak tree in the den. I don't want to give away any surprises but when they are there some of the characters heal another character and that part makes me really happy because I like the character that they heal.



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What did you like most about the book?


What I liked most about the book is the sense of constant adventure. There was always something exciting happening, and I like stories where lots happen. I also liked the way Moll carried on being the one in charge, who didn't wait for someone else to come and help her when she was in trouble. Instead she got on and did it herself.

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The original catapult that Petal made last year...

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What did you like least about the book?



The thing that I liked least about the book was **[a character]** dying, because that made me feel really sad for Moll.

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Did you like the way the book ended?



Yes, I thought the ending was really good, because it sort of finished off that part of the story but made sure you knew it wasn't completely finished yet because there's another book still. Except for **[a character]** dying. I didn't want that to happen.

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What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?



My lasting impression of this book is that it's a really enjoyable read and I definitely need to read the last one in the series when it is published. 

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Would you recommend this book? How would you rate it?


I would recommend it to people who like adventure stories and books about friendships and learning about how to take care of yourself. I would rate it five out of five stars.

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...and this year new and improved version (excuse the poor quality pic - camera tech issues!)

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Is there anything else you'd like to say about the book?

Sometimes when I've finished a book it's just finished and I don't want to read it again but I think I will read this book again and again and again. It's like when you spend time with your friends, and you do the same things so you know what will happen. It's like that, a book that's a friend that you have fun spending time with.

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The Shadow Keeper is available from, as they say, all good bookshops, and Amazon.  If you'd like to find out more about the author, Abi Elphinstone, check out her website or her publishers, Simon and Schuster UK, or say hi on Twitter (@moontrug) - she's friendly and real and would love to hear from you!

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