Book Review, Books!, Middle Grade March, Signal Boost

Review: Story Thieves: The Stolen Chapters by James Riley

Hey all, Dani here.

Fun fact before I jump into today’s review: I already found a discount copy of the third book in this series at Half-Price Books and picked it up because I’m really enjoying it. I have definitely loved reading a bunch of Middle Grade books here in March, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to accomplish at least some reading over the weekend.

But for now, let’s just jump into this review, much like these characters jump into books.



Owen, Kiel, and Bethany confront secrets, stolen memories, and some very familiar faces in the follow-up to The Story Thieves—which was called a “fast-paced, action-packed tale” by School Library Journal—from the bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time trilogy.

Owen Conners would never jump into a mystery. There are too many hidden clues, twists that make no sense, and an ending you never see coming. Mysteries are just not Owen’s thing. So how exactly did he end up in one with his memory erased? And that’s far from the only question.

How did Kiel Gnomenfoot, boy magician, lose all of his magic? Where’s Bethany, their half-fictional friend? And who’s the annoying guy wearing the question mark mask and Sherlock Holmes hat, taunting Owen and Kiel that Bethany is in grave danger?

Bethany is trapped in a hidden room that’s slowly filling with water, and she can’t escape until her friends find her. But is she imprisoned by more than just chains and a locked door? What’s she hiding from Owen and Kiel?

Maybe some mysteries just shouldn’t be solved…

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

The first nine chapters of this book were hilariously entertaining–about 97% of those chapters were redacted, which was amusing, and it took like 1 minute to read all of them.

The rest of the book was spent with the characters trying to piece together the details of what happened in those chapters.

We bounce back and forth from Owen and Kiel’s shenanigans to the problems that Bethany faces on her own. A lot of this book’s plot and format follow what you would expect from a mystery tale. I’m not a super fan of mystery, but this one intrigued me. I thought I had figured things out, but I was only partly right.

I liked that with this story having a book character who was the descendant of Sherlock Holmes, there also inevitably ended up being a descendant of Moriarty. That was fun. And the whole meta book within a book plots in this were honestly a bit trippy. I don’t know what to expect from this, and that’s fun.

I don’t think I enjoyed this installment as much as the first one, but it wasn’t bad, and with how it ends I am definitely intrigued to see how the series will continue from here. The third book seems to be centered around superheroes, so I am happy about that.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.


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