The Grave Thief

The Grave Thief
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
9+
Release Date
March 01, 2022
ISBN
978-0735269439
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Twelve-year-old Spade is a grave thief. With his father and brother, he digs up the recently deceased to steal jewels, the main form of trade in Wyndhail.

Digging graves works for Spade -- alone in the graveyard at night, no one notices his limp or calls him names. He's headed for a lifetime of theft when his father comes up with the audacious plan to rob a grave in the Wyndhail castle cemetery. Spade and his brother get caught in a royal trap, and Spade must find the master of the Woegan: a deadly creature that is stalking the castle by night.

Along the way, he meets Ember, the queen's niece, and together they race to solve the mystery of the legendary Deepstones and their connection to the Woegan, the queen, a missing king and the mysterious pebble Spade finds in the Wyndhail cemetery.

Editor review

1 review
Weakness has its own power.
(Updated: May 17, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
The idea of deepstones is introduced early, and they supposedly hold magical powers. Spade finds one while robbing a corpse, and he begins to notice it emitting light at various times. It’s easy to predict that Spade possesses an ability that will manifest itself later in the book. His uncle has told him many stories over the years, and Spade begins to realize that the mages and monsters he’s heard about might actually exist.
The author describes the Woegan stalking and killing people, but none of the main characters have actually seen it. Readers can anticipate its appearance at any time, as every strange sound in the forest might be the monster. The monster is conjured from magic, and the queen suspects she knows the mage responsible. Spade’s release from the dungeons, and his younger brother’s freedom, are dependent on him successfully retrieving a darkstone from the moors. The fact that none of the queen’s warriors have returned alive from the same quest emphasizes the danger awaiting Spade.
Several characters assist Spade and add personality to the cast. Ember is the queen’s niece, and she’s desperately craving adventure. She escapes the castle and joins Spade, although her presence creates additional complications for him. She points out that her knowledge of royalty, history, and monsters makes her an ideal match for his survival skills in the real world. Spade is helped tremendously by his pet raven named Ash. They have a special bond that allows them to communicate with a look, and Ash’s intelligence and bravery make him an invaluable asset.
What didn’t work as well:
A bothersome thing is the fact that Spade’s family makes money stealing from the dead. The important part is that Spade is a thief, so I’m not sure why the author chooses to make him a graverobber. I suppose it’s unique, however, it’s not a big deal as the book moves along. The story centers on finding the missing deepstones and stopping the Woegan from terrorizing the country, so gravedigging is mentioned, but unimportant to the plot.
The Final Verdict:
Weakness has its own power. The conflict presents a mystery for Spade and young readers, and they should all find the adventure very entertaining. The character relationships between Spade, Ember, and Ash are the highlight, and I recommend you give the book a shot.
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