Book Review | The Kidnap Plot by Dave Butler

Book Review: The Kidnap Plot by Dave Butler

The Kidnap Plot by Dave Butler

Add this sure bet to your pre-teen’s summer reading list. The Kidnap Plot by Dave Butler is the cure for summer boredom. With cleverly written characters, dangerously intense plots, and colorful and exotic settings, The Kidnap Plot is a great pick for your eight to ten-year old’s summer reading list.

In an alternate universe, Victorian Britain is populated by trolls, kobolds, pixies, brownies, and dwarves. Oh, and the diverse mix of humanity populating capitol of the British Empire. Charlie’s protective father, Bap, keeps him close to home, safe under his watchful eye. Then one day, Bap is kidnapped, taken by men with sinister motives. Charlie follows the trail of clues left behind. Along the way, he assembles a motley assemblage of friends. The trail takes him into the murky depths under London’s streets where pixie politics are cut-throat and ghouls lurk. It pits him against one of the most dangerous minds in 19th century Europe, who has  plans that only Charlie will be able to stop. Meanwhile, Charlie will learn as much about himself as about the world his Bap has kept him safe from.

Therefor, it’s an adventure story, a Bildungsroman, in a gearpunk world where magic exists alongside the power and might of the British Empire.

As I read The Kidnap Plot, I found myself wishing that my kids were a little older. It’s just a little too old for them, but perfect for the 8-12 year old group. With The Kidnap Plot, Dave Butler shows a talent for reimagined or alternate history. Consequently, it has more than enough “what if” magic and fantasy to create a world that would be fascinating to any kid. I look forward to handing to my own kids in a couple of years. (Other alternate history novels by Butler include Crechling, a YA novel set in a dystopian American West, and City of the Saints, an alternate history in 19th century Utah).

To enrich the world’s depth, each chapter opens with a selection from an almanac about creatures that populate The Kidnap Plot. They provide background, enhancing the depth of the world building. Every chapter pushes the plot to faster levels. And yet, Charlie’s growth never lags behind the plot. Even while The Kidnap Plot feels externally driven, Charlie’s character grows, too. He is discovering himself, his place in the world, in pace with the reader’s discovery of the world itself.

With The Kidnap Plot, then, Butler has created an exciting world and filled it with interesting characters. The Kidnap Plot is an exciting, fast-paced and enjoyable ride with never a dull moment. This is the first in The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie about Charlie’s journey and adventures. If the sequels are anything like The Kidnap Plot, I look forward to reading them. Your pre-teen will, too, and you might want to read along, as well.

The Kidnap Plot Book Cover The Kidnap Plot
Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie #1
Dave Butler
Fantasy for ages 8-12
Knopf Books for Young Readers
June 14, 2016

Meet Charlie. He lives a quiet life with his protective father, an inventor and clockmaker.

When Charlie’s father is suddenly and mysteriously kidnapped by a shadowy group called the Anti-Human League, it’s up to Charlie to save him. Before long, he has assembled a motley crew to help. From the terrifying but well-meaning troll Grim Grumblesson to the high-flying young aeronauts Bob and Sir Oliver, this team will follow the trail anywhere.

But the league’s plan is much more sinister than Charlie could have imagined. And as he unravels the secrets of the league, he also uncovers his father’s own secrets—about his family, the league, and even himself...

Can Charlie and his gang rescue his father from the dastardly villains who have kidnapped him? And will Charlie be able to come to terms with who he really is? The journey begins here!

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.