Craft & Culture Reviews

Book Review: The Boy Who Stole Time, by Mark Bowsher

"A fantasy novel that knows it's a fantasy novel" - Will Andrews reviews 'The boy who stole time' by Mark Bowsher

Krish is an ordinary 12-year-old boy, whose world is shaken by his mother’s illness. Wishing for more time for her, he strikes a deal with a mysterious creature. His mission is to travel to another world- the ‘pocket world’ of Ilir- and retrieve the Myrthali, a miraculous substance that allows the possessor to extend their life. Unfortunately for Krish, the only way to get his hands on this priceless commodity is to complete three Herculean tasks at the behest of a tyrannical king. On the plus side, a wizard named Balthrir accompanies him on his quest.

The adventure that follows is marvellously paced and has a touch of absurd humour that recalls Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. It’s a fantasy novel that knows it’s a fantasy novel. It also has a certain strangeness that reminded me a little of William Nicholson’s The Wind Singer; it’s not a straight-forward sword-and-dragon kind of fantasy.

The writing is really sharp and the characters are all well-rounded and interesting. It’s because of this that I enjoyed following Krish’s journey across Ilir and I hope that you give this one a crack. This is a ‘young adult’ novel and I would recommend it to young adults (whoever they are) who enjoy the genre, but it certainly has a wider appeal.  

The publisher, Unbound, combines conventional publishing with crowdfunding to give authors a platform for their work. The author gets the support and guidance from the publisher, whilst the capital is raised from the book’s patrons, reducing the financial risk of publishing the book. The process is a long one and a test of self-promotional skills, which I imagine goes against the grain for many creative people. The Boy Who Stole Time is a great example of how Unbound are bringing great new and exciting books to the literary community and it’s a mark of how good the book is that its already got a great community of fans around it. Coincidentally, Nothing in the Rulebook’s very own Professor Wu is working with Unbound to publish his book Philosophers’ Dogs.  So  perhaps Bowsher can give some tips on how to successfully crowdfund a great book!

I hope that Mark Bowsher, who also makes short films and writes in various places, will carry out his threat to write another novel. Hopefully, there will be a sequel to this engaging adventure.

About the reviewer

Will Andrews is both a wave and a particle. He is trying very hard with his reading and lives in Somerset.

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