Parents' Guide to

The Blackthorn Key, Book 1

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Puzzles, explosions in thrilling 1600s mystery adventure.

The Blackthorn Key, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+

it is a page turner

i liked the book because something exiting in every page.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

We can't get enough of this series!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (11):

First-time author Kevin Sands delivers irresistible characters, cool knowledge, intrigue, and lots of explosions as a 17th-century apprentice tries to solve his master's murder. Over the course of this exciting page-turner, readers will learn quite a bit about day-to-day life in 17th-century London, secret messages in code and Latin, and chemistry. Purists might quibble about the occasional anachronism, such as referring to characters "aging out" of an orphanage, but it's for a good cause: making a lot of potentially forbidding knowledge not only accessible but also spellbinding.

Parents be warned: There are definite "kids, don't try this at home" moments. It's nothing they can't find on the Web any day, but The Blackthorn Key includes detailed recipes for explosives, particularly gunpowder and something like nitroglycerin. Some of the compounds are described with archaic names such as "aqua fortis" (nitric acid).

Book Details

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