Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Today's read... The Queen of Thieves by Johan Rundberg

We're going to start this year out with a book that I've been looking forward to reading. It's the second in a duology, and the first was already a favorite of mine last year. This series has already done well across the sea and is now being translated into English. I'm hoping for more mystery and excitement, and am pretty sure it's going to deliver.

So, let's dive right in!

The Moonwind Mysteries
by Johan Rundberg
Translated by A.A. Prime
Amazon Crossing Kids
Upper Middle Grade Historical Mystery
207 pages

MARCH 5th!!!

Mika will do what it takes to uncover a string of thefts in the city―and keep her fellow orphans safe. After a merciless winter, spring has sprung in 1880 Stockholm, and the city awaits the arrival of the SS Vega , the first ship to have sailed the Northeast Passage. 
Life is busy at the orphanage, but twelve-year-old Mika quickly notices that the older orphans are up to something―and it doesn’t look good. When Constable Hoff approaches her with information about thefts around the city, Mika becomes even more concerned about what the other kids are up to―and what they might be planning for the Vega celebration. 
The police will have no sympathy for orphans, and she’d hate to see her friends condemned to life in jail. But Mika soon finds herself in a bind she can’t get out of―one that could condemn her own life. Can Mika uncover who is really behind the thefts in the city and keep her friends safe, without getting caught? Find out in this breathless sequel to The Night Raven .



Pick-pockets, orphans, and the police of 1880 Stockholm come to life in a mystery, which leaves the reader guessing until the last chapters.

Mika knows several of the kids at the orphanage are up to something. She sees, at least, two of them skipping classes more than once, but both are staying tight-lipped about what they're up to. When one of them runs away right before his adoption, alarm bells go off in her head, and she discovers the missing orphans working for a street-show. Sure they are pick-pocketing, she's determined to help them and keep them out of jail, but things aren't nearly as simple as first appears, and soon, she's the one running from the police.

This is the sequel to The Night Raven and, to my disappointment, already the last book since it's a duology. The mystery is just as exciting as in the first book and adds a nice touch of 'family' love, since Mika's concern for the other orphans drives her to go to her limits and beyond. She does behave very mature for a twelve-year-old, which has me suggesting this one even for older tweens and younger young adult readers. It is still, however, completely appropriate for middle graders, who are ready for a historically set read. The mystery is fairly complex (not overly so, though) and stays exciting enough to keep those pages turning. While some of it can be guessed by the end, the action and last twists round of the story well.

This duology does have me thinking of Oliver Twist and Co. thanks to the setting and themes...although that's where the similarities end. The situation of the orphans does rub at the heart-strings, and Mika's own concerns are understandable. There is depth and a few sub-plots, but it still stays short and rich. 

I do recommend this one to historical fans, who enjoy adventure, tension and a bit of mystery too.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I really enjoy historical fiction and mysteries, so this sounds like a series I'd like. I'll have to see if my library has the first book in the series.

Tonja Drecker said...

The series comes from a European writer. So, it's not as 'gentle' as US MG reads tend to be...which I think grabs readers of the age group more (and makes it more interesting for adult readers, too). Still, it is age appropriate. Enjoy!