October 18, 2021

The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde

The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Format: eBook (library)
Publisher: Amulet Books

Most people know that words have power, but Fran Wilde took that idea and ran with it in the middle-grade fantasy novel The Ship of Stolen Words. In this book, goblins steal words from the human realm (especially overused ones) and use them to power their flying ships. The story is full of shenanigans, an emphasis on the importance of family and friendships, and a reminder that if you say something you should mean it.  

There is a whole cast of characters in this book, but my favorite was Tolver and Sam. Despite one being a goblin and one being a human child, they have a lot in common. Both make mistakes, and both have to work hard to fix them. While there are fantasy elements in the book (like the goblins and magic and traveling to different realms), multiple elements in the goblin world are easily recognizable (so potential readers will connect to the struggles of Tolver and Nana more easily). 

Outside of the actual plot, I enjoyed seeing the references to Little Free Libraries in this book, and how the author name-dropped some books by other writers they have worked with. 

I think this would be a whimsical, fun read for readers of all ages. It’s possible that some of the chapters might be a bit on the long side for some middle-grade readers (it just depends on how long their attention span is and how confident of a reader they are). Despite the chapters being longer, the dialogue and the concepts introduced in the book should pose no problem for younger audiences to understand. 

Overall, The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde is a fun middle-grade story that will leave readers of all ages more cognizant of what they say.

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