I am a huge fan of Kieran’s writing (if you haven’t read his award-winning Legend of Podkin One-Ear series, you need to immediately!) so I was very happy to hear that he had embarked on an entirely new endeavour – Carnival of the Lost.
‘Sheba the wolf girl joins an unusual troupe of performers that includes Pyewacket, a witch’s imp; Gigantus the giant and Sister Moon, a knife thrower. For the first time in her life she feels she might make true friends, and learn a real stage craft. But soon that’s not all she has to think about . . .
Children are being sucked into the Thames and there have been strange sightings of a mechanical monster. The carnival troupe know first-hand that looks only tell half a story – they become determined to find these forgotten children. Perhaps they will unravel the mystery that has defied even the law!’
Kieran is the absolute master of describing a setting so fantastically that you can absolutely imagine yourself there. And that’s certainly the case here. From the very first pages, I could taste the foul air by the murky River Thames and almost feel the greasy underbelly of Victorian London.
Once Sheba has been purchased by Mr Plumpscuttle and whisked away from her rundown seaside home to an equally rundown London home, she meets the rest of The Peculiars – a crew of unique individuals who use their skills to solve mysteries that no one else appears to have noticed. Including disappearing mudlarks and strange mechanical machines in the Thames.
When Sheba discovers one of her friends has been snatched, she has no choice but to risk it all to find her. As she delves deeper into her past, Sheba will also have to confront some harsh realities about mistreatment and societal shunning.
A dark, grimy read for fans of the gothic with plenty of glorious illustrations by Sam Usher to bring the story to life. 9+
*Many thanks to Faber Children’s Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*