Christopher's master and other apothecaries are gruesomely murdered, with brief gory descriptions. Christopher often mentions the frequent beatings he received in the orphanage, and various characters hit him; Tom's father regularly beats him. There's some hand-to-hand fighting, some of it deadly.
A villain tortures a character by pouring acid on him. The 17th-century world in which many things are capital offenses and executions are public entertainment imparts additional danger, as does an apparent plot by a secret society to overthrow the king. Expect many references to pee and poop, often as ingredients in chemical compounds or part of the pre-plumbing, 17th-century local scenery. Heads up: Instructions for making gunpowder and other explosives are part of the story. Add your rating See all 1 parent review.
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Add your rating See all 7 kid reviews. It's the spring of , and Charles II is on the throne, though none too securely. Closer to home for year-old apprentice Christopher Rowe is the fact that "in the past four months, five men had been butchered in their homes. Each of them had been tied up, tortured, then slit open at the stomach and left to bleed to death.
First-time author Kevin Sands delivers irresistible characters, cool knowledge, intrigue, and lots of explosions as a 17th-century apprentice tries to solve his master's murder. Over the course of this exciting page-turner, readers will learn quite a bit about day-to-day life in 17th-century London, secret messages in code and Latin, and chemistry. Purists might quibble about the occasional anachronism, such as referring to characters "aging out" of an orphanage, but it's for a good cause: making a lot of potentially forbidding knowledge not only accessible but also spellbinding.
Parents be warned: There are definite "kids, don't try this at home" moments.
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It's nothing they can't find on the Web any day, but The Blackthorn Key includes detailed recipes for explosives, particularly gunpowder and something like nitroglycerin. Some of the compounds are described with archaic names such as "aqua fortis" nitric acid. Families can talk about stories of kids living in past times. What's the appeal for readers of today?
Do you have any favorites? Do you think life has improved for kids and teens today compared with the experiences of Christopher and his friends? Is there anything about their time you'd like to check out yourself if you had the chance? What did you know about Oliver Cromwell and his overthrow of the king?
Does this story make you want to learn more about that era? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners. See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.
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Want personalized picks that fit your family? Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids. The Blackthorn Key, Book 1. Puzzles, explosions in thrilling s mystery adventure. Kevin Sands Adventure Rate book. Read or buy. Based on 1 review. Based on 7 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Sign In Don't have an account?
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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. Contents [ show ]. Add an image. Categories :. Released after City of Heavenly Fire.
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