Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Lord Kirkle's Money - Avi

Lord Kirkle's Money by Avi
Series: Beyond the Western Sea #2
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Published on September 1, 2996
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 380
Read From: 1.11.12 - 1.14.12

On board the Robert Peel, Patrick and Maura O'Connell are on their way from hunger and poverty in Ireland to a better life in America with their father. But the voyage over is anything but easy, and anti-immigration prejudice in Boston makes their arrival in America a lot less warmer and safer than the siblings were anticipating. Work is hard to find, and with a certain Jeremiah Jenkins stirring up trouble against the Irish, their struggles are not yet over. 

Meanwhile, Laurence Kirkle must avoid all contact with other people on the Robert Peel, as he hides as a stowaway, and he soon finds himself once more on the run when he discovers that Mr. Clemspool is once more hot on his trail - as well as Laurence's jealous older brother. And this time, they're going to make sure Laurence can't return to England. Ever. To escape alive, Laurence may have to put his trust in the very man who stole one thousand pounds from him, way back when he was still in London. The problem is, that man is convinced Laurence is a ghost.


Lord Kirkle's Money picks right up where The Escape from Home left off, and while the Author offers a sort of recap in the first few chapters, it isn't a very good idea to let much time lapse between reading this one and its prequel. But if a Reader is unfortunate enough to do so, Avi's hundreds of characters are not so easily forgotten, and it won't take long to recall the important things from Book One.

This installment offers up a number of new characters along with the old, each one adding a new twist to the storyline, more depth to the overall ambiance of this rich time in history. And there is further improvement in the old characters. Maura is still fairly passive, but Patrick's temper levels out somewhat and whatever scrapes he gets into in this book are not entirely his fault. Laurence, still my favorite, learns better how to stand on his own two feet, as it were, and whatever amount of victimhood he possessed in The Escape from Home is well and good nonexistent by the end.

With the reappearance of Mr. Clemspool, Laurence's brother Albert, and the pickpocket who robbed Laurence in London, there is not a dull moment in the book. On top of these villains are Mr. Shagwell, who uses Mr. Clemspool as much as Mr. Clemspool uses him, and Jeremiah Jenkins, who causes no small amount of trouble for the O'Connells and other Irish immigrants. Avi does a spectacular job in tying all of these characters into the fate of the 1,000 pounds Laurence stole from his father; characters that you'd think would have absolutely no connection to it. All in all, a thrilling, richly historical adventure; an absolute triumph.

Others in the Beyond the Western Sea Series:
1)The Escape from Home
2)Lord Kirkle's Money

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