Every time my husband and I make a bet, the wager includes a book for me if I win. You don’t want to know what he wins. Seriously, it’s usually some boring car part. Anyway, I had $4 to spend on Amazon.com recently and I was about to purchase a book that was recommend to me based on other books: Stolen by Vivian Van Velde. But I saw that the library had a copy in stock so I went with that instead and bought another Fablehaven installment for my collection.
After checking out Stolen, however, I may want to buy my own copy of that! Van Velde has written dozens of novels, so it was a pleasure to discover such a talent. The book is a fantasy, but it is also a mystery at its heart. The opening scene depicts a witch being hunted by a group of humans after she steals one child too many; after she casts two simple spells, the prologue ends, and we meet a stumbling 12-year-old-girl who is running through the woods. The girl, Isabelle, has no idea who she is, nor how she got there.
The rest of the story involves Isabelle trying to make sense of her situation and finding out who she really is, and nothing is as it seems. There are surprises throughout the book, right down to the last page, and though it was a very quick read, taking only about two hours, it was so exciting and surprising that I’d happily read it again, looking for the clues Van Velde left us to show what would ultimately happen.
Nearly every character is female, which is so different from what we are used to and a very welcome, pleasant surprise. I wish I could say the same about more fiction today. Nearly every character is not who he or she seems, either. It’s not nonstop action, so don’t go in expecting Percy Jackson adventure; instead, think of it as a fairytale mystery, which is always the best kind. There is plenty of rising tension as suspense builds in each chapter until you can finally predict some—but not all—of the tale as it unfolds.
Go read Stolen as soon as you can, then join me in checking out the rest of this wonderful author’s many works, which are largely of the YA genre, too.