When I first started this book I was unsure of whether I liked it, or not. The whimsical narrative style seemed a little too cutesy for my personal taste, but when I was young I had an interest in Greek and Roman mythology. The library at my elementary school had a book full of these grotesque illustrations that I found endlessly exciting. I was particularly fascinated by the story of Persephone being kidnapped into the underground, so as The Shadow Thieves began to meld into story lines that I recognized and found interesting, I was less critical and enjoyed it more overall.
Our book starts with Charlotte Mielswetski walking home from school and finding a stray kitten. Clearly, she is being followed, and clearly she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but we can overlook these things as the story proceeds. Her parents inform her that her cousin is coming to stay with the family and attend school with her. When her cousin arrives a mysterious illness follows. Eventually we find out that the sickness has to do with some shadow thieves from the actual underworld where Hades has let things get into disrepair. As we find in these type of stories, the kids are called upon to save the day.
The book is a bit cliche, but it is done pretty well and keeps one entertained. The main characters are only okay, thus far but I hope that in subsequent books we can see them grow a bit. For a middle grade novel or YA it is a pretty good effort and I am interested to see what happens as the series progresses.