THE STOLEN CHAPTERS by James Riley

THE STOLEN CHAPTERS

From the "Story Thieves" series, volume 2
Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fictional character’s megalomaniacal scheme to insert himself into every novel ever written precipitates a merry chase through meta-realms in this brain-cracking sequel.

Following nine pages that are blacked out except for a few tantalizing words, putative protagonist Owen (“nonfictional” dweeb) and Kiel Gnomenfoot (cocky hero of a popular fantasy series) start off Chapter 10 in a burning library. With no memory of recent events, they are informed by masked nemesis Doyle Holmes (fictional descendant of Sherlock) that their bestie Bethany (half-fictional and able to travel at will between books and the “real world”) will be permanently out of the picture in two hours. Things skid toward further catastrophe in a whirl of captures, rescues, cliffhangers, flashbacks and point-of-view switches, redacted and renumbered chapters, oblique digs at “real” novels, conflicting motives, and hackneyed literary tropes—many of which are subverted by the characters themselves on the way to a dizzying round of climactic twists. What with cameos and ongoing plotlines, readers are well-advised to keep the previous volume to hand for reference. By the end, Bethany and Owen, having demonstrated laudable quantities of guts and wits, swear off book-diving forever. Fat chance, as the author, in his alter ego as “nobody,” emerges into view to start the next episode (and dramatize the acknowledgements).

Likely to leave more than a few punctures in even the most levelheaded reader’s sense of reality. (Metafictional fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-0922-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Aladdin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2015




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