The Thief Lord review

This may have been one too many thief books for me.  This was the first Cornelia Funke book I have read and, coming on the heels of The Book Thief, I’m not sure what all the hullaballoo is about.   The prose struck me as oversimplified, as though Funke thinks middle readers are more adept at thievery than reading.  Her characters are utterly conventional in a pleasantly unconventional story.  Although it deals with young thieves, this book really doesn’t belong with City of Thieves or The Book Thief.  It is not set during World War II, but in a timeless Venice.  No one dies except for some parents, and that is dealt with before this story actually begins.  The antagonists are harmless and benign if not outright helpful.  The advertising copy would lead you to believe that this is a Dickensian story, but there is no Bill Sykes to be found here.  The gang of kid thieves truss up a private detective who is seeking for two of their number and he becomes an honorary operative.  They break into a woman’s home and she not only gives them what they came to steal, she assists them in the hand off and welcomes them into her home.  This book is a fairy tale, complete with a happily-ever-after ending that is trite and inconsequential.

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