From the archive:

After a blogging hiatus (and for hiatus, please read “I’ve been slack”) I wanted to spend some time telling you about the last three books I have read.

I’ve had a somewhat lucky streak as these three titles have each been brilliant in their own way. Here’s the first of three reviews I’ll fire off in quick succession. Today, let’s look at Lian Tanners first installment in her new The Keepers seriesThe Museum of Thieves.

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Lian and, as it happens, helped prepare the Tasmanian launch event for this book, at the museum where I worked at the time.

Beyond the Harry Potter series, I’ve not really investigated young adult fiction before. (At least, not since I was a young adult.)

I’m not sure exactly why I decided to make time for The Keepers: The Museum of Thieves. Was it my interest in reading Lian’s work? My love of museums? The superb jacket illustrations by Sebastian Ciaffaglione? A combination of all of these things? Who knows. What I do know is that having read this gem of a novel, I am encouraged to try more young adult fiction.

Lian’s book introduces us to Goldie, an independently minded child biding her time until her pending, ceremonial release from the control of a society which values ‘safety’ over everything else. When ‘terror’ strikes and her ‘blessed’ guardians tighten their for Goldie’s safety (of course) she is forced to flee, taking refuge in the bowels of a neglected museum. Naturally, this is the start of her adventure, not the end.

What impressed me most about this title (remembering that I’ve admitted I really only have Harry Potter to compare it to) is that it doesn’t take its target audience for fools. Lian’s book tackles enslavement, injustices and death (cold, hard, rough death) in everyday language without softening or disguising anything that might, perhaps, usually be tucked away.

I highly recommend The Keepers: The Museum of Thieves and look forward to the second and third books in The Keepers series. For those interested in learning more about Lian and her writing, check out this Q&A