Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Round 2:  
 VS.  The Blackthorn Key

I vote that The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands move on to the next round. This book was a refreshing read after so many dystopian and teen angst-filled novels of late. The gripping tale of the 17th Century apothecaries and loyal friends, mysterious murders and secret codes, had me flipping pages in rapid succession. The story kept me intrigued throughout, and the characters were engaging and endearing. I feel this novel would engage all types of readers due to the variety of elements it contains. From magic and mystery, to thrilling explosions, to the tale of a boy trying to solve a code to avenge his Master and live up to expectations, it has something in it for everyone. I feel that Christopher, and his best friend Tom, are characters students will relate to and cheer for as they read this exciting tale!

I vote for The Blackthorn Key as well!  I like the mystery feel of this book that keeps readers guessing and wanting to read more!  As well, I like that it is part of a series, as those kids who really like the book now have two more to keep them reading!  I believe any student who likes magic might like these books.  The characters are very relatable and believable.  I agree with the above review; finally a book that is not filled with angst and drama!

I liked the Blackthorn Key.  It was fun and engaging, like an old episode of Young Indiana Jones. There wasn’t the darkness of other teen sci-fi like the other reviews have said.  It read like a quick paced adventure novel, essentially Clive Cussler for YA with enjoyable characters of substance with a solid theme of friendship and brotherhood.  It’s nice to see a YA book not focused on girls growing up in totalitarian regimes.  I will even read the next two in the series!
From the Library’s Circulation Desk…
I vote that The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands  move to the next round.  I really enjoyed this book even though historical fantasy fiction is not my preferred genre.  The storyline kept me engaged. It had a heavy plot with some suspenseful writing.  It was truly a page turner.  In between explosions, mystery and puzzles to solve, Christopher’s character was on the search for Master Benedict Blackthorn’s killer.


  1. "Blackthorn" is a fun read, but better than "Secret Path?" I'm going to need more convincing Clover Barians!

  2. I feel like the fact that it is mid-May is perhaps affecting my choices. Fun reads are lately far more appealing to me than anything else, and "better" has become relative to my current personal reading need for entertaining escapism and charm...

  3. Very true, Tonya. We, along with the students, are wearying of the year's demands and long for some well-deserved R & R time.

    The elimination process is also difficult as we're comparing apples and oranges. "My Friend Dahmer," an intriguing graphic novel about the teenage life of Jeffrey Dahmer told by one of his classmates - an amazing read - was up against a middle years novel in the Edmonton Smackdown. It too was eliminated by a coming-of-age middle years novel. Both were excellent.

    Ultimately, it's brilliant that there are this many committed readers to this literature. It benefits our work with students.

  4. I agree with you Tonya. We need some brain breaks once in a while. I also feel that "better" is a difficult word to use when comparing such varying novels, as you mentioned Carolyn. I try to consider which novel might have more appeal to more students. Maybe it's because I'm in a grade 7 mindset, but "Secret Path" might not reach as many students, in my current wave of thought. I do hope as many students as possible read it and get curious about our history, though!