Thursday, 8 September 2016

Review: Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands

Mark of the Plague
by Kevin Sands
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date:September 6th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this follow-up to the Indie Next pick The Blackthorn Key, which was called a “spectacular debut” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy.

And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…

There aren't many middle grade titles I'm instantly eager to pick up as their releases approach, but I believe Kevin Sands has me under an instant-buy spell that is certain to last an eternity. With his phenomenal debut in The Blackthorn Key, a title that features the witty and intuitive Christopher, I was instantly enamored by the action packed and adventurous lifestyle of the young apothecary's apprentice. With the addition of a series of murders, puzzles, and the appearance of the world's greatest Pigeon, The Blackthorn Key immediately became one of my go-to middle grade recommendations that readers of all ages could enjoy.

"I'll say this: Hedgehog fur really burns."

In Mark of the Plague, readers are re-introduced into the dreary and depressing setting of London in the midst of The Black Death. As the quick spreading disease makes it way through the town and country, a mysterious prophet appears and predicts the city's untimely doom. With this new prediction, however, comes a promising lead that a cure could be created, and people begin to seek Christopher out in order to prepare this miracle cure.

Mark of the Plague was, without a doubt, twice as adventurous, intense, and thrilling as it's predecessors. The puzzles are ever as tricky, it's sneaky villains exceptionally more villainous, and the ever growing dark conspiracies far more sinister than one could ever imagine. Mark of the Plague offered Christopher the outstanding opportunity to finally grow into a far more confident, cunning, and inspiring hero all readers are certain to love, and his friendship with Tom grew into a stronger partnership that I'm certain readers will grow to adore. Without a doubt, I'm over the moon for Mark of the Plague! I can only imagine the sinister twists and turns that await me in upcoming Blackthorn Key titles. I still have countless questions that MUST be answered, and I'm certain Kevin Sands will not disappoint with his next installment in the series.

Readers of all ages are highly recommended The Blackthorn Key series by Kevin Sands. Not just a series for younger readers, it has the ability to hook you immediately from page one and make a devoted reader out of you. It's brilliant!

5 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. Another series I need to add to my TBR
    Thanks! :)

  2. Sounds interesting. An old-timey London setting and apothecaries, mysteries, and murder? Sold!

  3. The only middle grade book I've read is Harry Potter. It was a book that speak to me when I was growing up and just like it I can see something calling to me based on your review on Mark of the Plague. I'll check the first book out from the library before I commit to the sequel, but it does sound promising. Wonderful review as always.

  4. Katherine Pinacho9 September 2016 at 00:54

    Love your review!