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The Thief Who Sang Storms

Book Synopsis

The hugely-anticipated, brand-new fairytale adventure from Sophie Anderson, the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs.

The Island of Morovia is shaped like a broken heart. The humans live on one side of the island, and the alkonosts – the bird-people – live on the other. But it wasn’t always this way…

Linnet wishes she could sing magic. But magic is forbidden and she has been banished with her father to the Mournful Swamp. She misses her old life, and dreams of reuniting with her friends.

When her father is captured for taking a precious jewel, Linnet must set out on a treacherous journey. Travelling through alligator pools and sinking sands with new friends, she learns how to be brave, and discovers something even more powerful than singing magic. Something that could save her father, and heal the broken heart of her island once more…

With themes of grief, trust, love, and that we have more in common than that which divides us, this is a heartfelt book filled with adventure and stunning storytelling from bestselling Sophie Anderson.

Our Review Panel says...

As with Sophie Anderson’s other stories, this fantasy is a modern, relatable twist on a traditional Russian folktale – this time based on a poem called Nightingale the Robber about a mysterious man with bird-like features and a powerful, dangerous whistle. In The Thief Who Sang Storms, the magic is centred on a thirteen-year-old girl who attempts to bring together two opposing sides of her island while also trying to save her persecuted father.

Readers of the author’s previous books will enjoy spotting a familiar old friend. There’s always a myriad of new details too to delight readers in Sophie Anderson’s fantasy worlds. It’s easy to melt away into this story’s world of shipwrecks, floating islands, fortresses, swamp homes and magical bird-people. Underneath the fantasy sit a number of highly relatable themes – divided societies, grief, prejudice and the power of finding hope in dark times. It’s a mesmerising story that has many layers to unpack.

We also see a protagonist who is frustrated at not yet having received the ‘singing magic’ that she feels will empower her to make a difference. For a middle-grade readership on the threshold of puberty, the feeling of waiting to be big enough to make an impact is likely to be a familiar one – but the author has a message of encouragement for her readers through Linnet’s story. We may get frustrated when we lack agency to change the world around us, but often it’s the power of the smallest decisions and actions that lead to the biggest impact when we follow our hearts, seek to bridge divisions and pursue what is right.

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