Blackthorn Key


Let me tell you all about Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, the Cybils Award WINNER! I had it in my mind that this book should be the winner even before we had our delegating chat.

I loved this book so much. Here’s a quick summary via Goodreads.

“London, 1665. Fourteen-year-old Christopher Rowe is apprenticed to master apothecary Benedict Blackthorn. In Blackthorn’s shop, Christopher learns the delicate secrets of transforming simple ingredients into powerful medicines, potions and weapons… Helped by his best friend, Tom, Christopher must decipher his master’s clues, following a trail of deceit towards an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.”

I read this book in tandem with another one of the book choices and in doing so it seriously highlighted the differences between our time and 1665 London. In our time, teenagers are rude to their parents and self centered. At least, in my opinion, based on one of the books I was reading. I won’t say which one because I am not a rude teenager (anymore). All Christopher wants to do is please his master! Even when he hits him! I think some middle grade readers may need a bit more information as far as the historical situation goes (not all of them may know Thomas Cromwell or the time period) but it can still be understood that traitors are bad so it’s not a big issue. I like that the book feels complete but somewhat open ended with the disappearance of a main antagonist. The characters are nicely fleshed out but there are a lot of them in the guild. I felt like sometimes they were called by their last names or different titles and there were just a fair amount of people to remember so that might also be hard. I also think because of the scientific experiments and potions, along with Christopher’s age, this could also easily be considered a YA crossover book.



Filed under book review, children, cybils, fiction, young adult

5 responses to “Blackthorn Key

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