THE TALENT THIEF by Alex Williams


An Extraordinary Tale of an Ordinary Boy
Age Range: 11 - 13
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The author of The Deep Freeze of Bartholomew Tullock (2008) again wastes a promising premise on a tale shot through with weak logic, wooden dialogue and inconsistent characterizations. Having recruited a creature who can extract and absorb the special qualities of others, villainous mediocrity Fortescue has set out to rob all the human prodigies of the world—somehow persuading his monster to hand over the talents (which resemble Easter eggs when drawn from their owners’ heads) rather than consume them itself. This nefarious scheme is dealt a severe setback when the creature deprives sulky teenager Cressida Bloom of her extraordinary singing voice, and Cressida’s astonishingly thick-skinned, supposedly no-talent little brother Adam sets out to get it back. Along the way Adam collects two of Fortescue’s adult victims, whose budding romance provides a welcome distraction from the lumbering plot and meant-to-be-funny-but-not lines like, “You make me feel strangely uneasy, as if I’ve just eaten a moldy sandwich and I’m waiting for the ill effects to kick in.” With massive reworking, the film version, purportedly in the early stages of development, might be salvageable. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-25278-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2010