Thursday, July 21, 2016

Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant: The Thief's Apprentice by Bryan Methods

London is agog with fear and speculation about the mysterious master thief, the Ruminating Claw. Oliver Diplexito is more interested in convincing his father he's not a coward and to take some interest in him, but when he gets a shock late one night and realizes the Claw is none other than his father's butler, Mr. Scant, he starts to take a much closer interest!

Oliver is soon caught up in Mr. Scant's mysterious world and dramatic story; he gets taken along on some nerve-wracking expeditions as an apprentice, learns about some of Mr. Scant's ingenious machines, and goes up against a dangerous organization who are the real thieves of England's treasures!

The descriptions of the various characters are vivid and the whole story has a Dickensian air. It's also a decent length, coming in at less than 300 pages. However, the story is rather rambling and confused and it's not a particularly fresh plot. Readers are unlikely to sympathize or relate to the neurotic Oliver or the eccentric Mr. Scant and the action doesn't really take off until partway through the story.

Verdict: Fans of secret societies and adventures will be better served with more popular titles like 39 Clues, Infinity Ring, or Seven Wonders. The story does have a flavor of Roald Dahl, but not enough to ride on the popularity of the new movie. Purchase only if you have truly dedicated Anglophiles and fans of Dickensian children's literature.

ISBN: 9781512405798; Published October 2016 by Carolrhoda/Lerner; ARC provided by publisher at BEA

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