Published by: Faber & Faber, 4th May 2023
This debut middle grade novel is rather on the long side but please don't let that put you off. Fantasy lovers and more confident readers are in for an immersive treat of a story where heroes and villains merge in a dark and edgy world...
Jude Ripon is a thief! Desperate to be part of the family business, who steal and sell tamed and edible magic, she is determined to pull off a heist that impressives them.
But Jude might have bitten off more than she can chew with her latest theft. As she becomes embroiled in curses, lithrum attacks and a search for two people who have mysteriously gone missing, Jude begins to discover the extent of what her family are up to - does she really want to be part of it after all?
This is a fantastic exploration of family, villainy and coming of age set in a high-concept and spellbinding fantasy world. Ravena Guron's imagination is second-to-none and the complexity of her world-building is phenomenal - full to the brim with 3D imagery and perfect detail. The plot is perfect for fans of Crookhaven and Wednesday and reminded me of a darker version of The Addams Family.
I found the plot enthralling. It's dark, dangerous, twisty and turny and Grandleader is a particular character to watch. The story branches out like a spider's web, ensnaring you inside, and there are revelations throughout that will make you gasp. Yet, what I also loved was that the heart of the story is simple as Jude explores her identity and who her family really are. I loved her character journey and its one that I think will really capture the hearts of the reader. There's a lot of thought-provoking moments, edge of your seat action and a gorgeous blossoming friendship to boot.
Middle-grade fantasy is definitely on fire this year and I've been lucky enough to review some crackers. For me, The Thief of Farrowfell is right up there with the best and it is worth investing the time in the slightly higher wordcount. It's the first in a series and if book one is this good then I can't wait for the others...
A big thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for allowing me a review copy. The Thief of Farrowfell publishes today, 4th May 2023.