Sunday, February 15, 2015

Book Review: Story Thieves by James Riley (Story Thieves #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story, characters, and humor around a great premise
Cons: The story within the story a little weak
The Bottom Line:
Jump into story
Literally with Owen
And Bethany here

Don’t Steal This Story.  Just Jump In!

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember.  (Shocking, right?)  And as a kid, I would dream of jumping into a book and meeting my favorite characters.  As soon as I heard the premise behind James Riley’s new series, I knew I wasn’t alone because the characters in Story Thieves get to do just that.

Real life is boring.  That’s what Owen has decided, and he much prefers to live in the world of his favorite books, at least in his day dreams.  And then he meets Bethany when he finds her crawling out of a book.  Wait, what?  Turns out she is half fictional and can jump into books.  She’s spent years looking for her father, who disappeared into a book, and works very hard to stay out of the stories so no one learns about her abilities.

But Owen has a plan.  He wants to trick Bethany into jumping them into the climax of the sixth Kiel Gnomenfoot book, just in time to alter the cliffhanger, meet Kiel himself, and become a hero to the series legion of fans the world over.  What could possibly go wrong?  Turns out plenty, and as things spiral out of control, will Owen and Bethany be able to return things to normal?

Now obviously the book we spend most of the time in is completely made up.  And yet, there are many references to the books I loved as a kid and even some of the newer ones I’ve come to love as an adult.  These mentions made the book geek in me smile.

Honestly, the fictional series that features in this book is the weakest part of this book.  However, that’s not the point of our story.  A couple of minor things with it just didn’t seem to quite work for me, but it’s a very minor thing that is only worth noting in passing.

This is a very fast paced story.  Owen and Bethany actually spend much of the book apart, and we follow them in mostly alternating chapters.  In classic fashion, each chapter ends in a cliffhanger, making it even harder to book the book down.  And, while I wasn’t a super big fan of that story within a story, I loved the main story with Owen and Bethany as the stars.  The way things came together for a climax was great as well.

Speaking of Owen and Bethany, I really liked them as main characters.  They grow in some great ways and were just fun to be around.  It helped that they were surrounded by a crazy assortment of characters.  And yes, this includes the characters from the Kiel Gnomefoot story.

Plus there’s the humor.  I was smiling from the very first page and often had to laugh at the situations the characters got themselves into or the conversations they had along the way.  There are great moments that readers will especially appreciate.  That fun just made it all the more enjoyable to read.

Even though most of the book takes place around a made up book series, I still have to admit that part of me is jealous of Owen and Bethany’s ability to meet their favorite characters.  There was definitely some wish fulfillment in my love of this book even as things just go from bad to worse for the characters.

So whether you are a kid or a former kid who used to fantasize about meeting your favorite characters, I highly recommend Story Thieves.  This is a fun series debut that will leave you anxious for the further story jumping adventures of Bethany and Owen.

You'll want to jump into the rest of the Story Thieves series in order.

This review is part of the President's Day edition of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. Love the premise for this one. So many intriguing elements. I will definitely be reading it after your recommendation. Thanks for the review.

    1. You just can't beat that premise. I was already a fan of this authors, but I would have picked it up based on the premise alone.

  2. Wow. This one sounds like so much fun. I will have to check this one out. Thanks for telling me about it.

  3. The plot sounds great!

  4. Can u write a summary about it
    Like a summary for kids


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