I have spoken before of my love for Scott Chantler's Three Thieves series, and I'm thrilled to tell you that there's a new chapter called The Dark Island that's just coming out in a few weeks. I have read an advance copy through Netgalley, and I'm happy to report that it is everything I would have wanted it to be. Dessa and her friends being awesome! Revelations and adventures! Heroism and friendship! Captain Drake being all stern and honorable! The only thing I might want from this book is for it to be twice as long, so we could spend a little more time lingering with these characters.
I absolutely love the art here, which is so simple and clean and yet so perfectly expressive. The story cuts sharply back and forth between two threads--in one, Dessa and her friends have found a floating island--hovering, really, above the ocean--and are getting ready to explore it; in the other, her pursuer Captain Drake has found a boy he's sure is Dessa's long lost twin, for whom she's searching.
Now, this is the point where I have to admit that I was so excited to read this one that I didn't go back and do any rereading at all; I will say that the series would be better served if I had. It was pretty easy to pick up the visuals, but this story started to bring together a lot of elements of the previous five volumes, and I think refreshing on those details would have been worth it. And I'm having to look up a lot of characters' names for this review--Dessa is the only one I actually remember.
So Dessa and Topper and (quick glance at the book) Fisk make their way to the island and start to figure out what's going on. I won't give too much away, but we start to get a sense of what Greyfalcon is up to here. At the same time, Captain Drake is chasing Jared, and we (and Drake) learn a bit more of what Greyfalcon has been up to for years.
I've found Drake to be the most interesting character here for a while. I love Dessa for her quick, bold bravery, and oh, I love Fisk for his protective loyalty (and Topper because he's hilarious, and because someone has to be pragmatic in this family of idealists). But Drake is the one whose story really calls out to me. He's the tragic knight, whose loyalty is showing itself to be at odds with his morality. It's an old story, but in the stark way it's laid out here, you can't help but wonder what side he's going to end up on. I'm hoping he doesn't pull a Ned Stark on us.
I think I'm going to go back and start from the beginning on this one, and maybe bring Adam in on it--he's old enough now, at seven, to follow it and enjoy the story.
I read on the website that there will only be one more volume, so things are coming to a head. The second volume should be out this year, too. I'm excited, both for the rest of this story, and to see what Scott Chantler will do next!