The Stolen Chapters

September 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

chaptersThe Stolen Chapters by James Riley

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Story Thieves was clever, but derivative, populated with characters who were hard to care about in the beginning. The story improved, but about halfway through, I wasn’t sure if I would keep reading the series. By the end of the book, I still had concerns, but it wasn’t terrible, and I had already received the book from the library, so I figured I’d keep moving forward. If nothing else, it wouldn’t take long to read, being a juvenile book, right?

I’m glad events conspired to keep me reading, because The Stolen Chapters is a much better story than Story Thieves. The plot is more complex — Owen, Bethany, and Kiel are suffering from amnesia in a plot that involves them going head-to-head with a criminal genius — and the characters start out being likable, since we got to that point at the end of Story Thieves. Plus, Kiel’s arrogance has tempered, Owen is no longer trying to use his friends for his own means, and Bethany becomes more of a central character in the main plot.

The story starts in media res, with everyone waking up to find themselves in danger, with no memory of how they arrived there. It works well to draw the reader in, since we only get the answers when they do, and it’s a surprisingly complex, clever plot that takes the central idea from the first book and makes something more compelling out of it. This is the book I feel like Story Thieves should have been, but Riley had to cover the events in Story Thieves to get us to the point where The Stolen Chapters would make sense.

I’d recommend this book to juvenile and adult readers with an interest in book-jumping, but the problem is you have to read the less interesting Story Thieves first. I have to remind myself of my graphic novel rule: Don’t judge the entire series off of the first book alone, since first books are mostly exposition. I’m just not used to having to do that with book series, too.

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