Inky Blog Book of the Month: The Book of Stolen Dreams by David Farr
Updated: May 23, 2022
The Book of Stolen Dreams, David Farr's debut novel, is a stunning addition to the children's fantasy fiction genre.
Rachel Klein's world is thrown into turmoil when she and her brother Robert help their father steal the forbidden Book of Stolen Dreams.
After their father is arrested, Rachel and Robert vow to keep the book safe, hidden from the wicked president Charles Malstain, as they search for the final missing page.
With Malstain and his henchmen on their trail, Rachel and Robert must join forces with a cast of unlikely characters to protect the secrets of the book and stop Malstain ruling Krasnia forever.
David Farr is unquestionably a master storyteller, and with TV screenwriting credits that include Spooks and The Night Manager, he certainly knows how to weave a tale full of drama and suspense. And the same can absolutely be said of The Book of Stolen Dreams.
According to Farr, his idea for a children's novel had been with him for a number of years, but it wasn't until lockdown hit that he finally sat down and brought the realm of Krasnia to life.
Drawing inspiration from his real-life German Jewish ancestors, Farr has crafted an engaging story that had me gripped from the first page, composing a skilful balance between humour, grief, adventure and peril, testing his characters to the limit along the way.
"Storytelling at its very best." - Sophie Anderson
David Farr has created a delightful relationship between Rachel and her brother Robert, which develops throughout the story into a true bond founded on trust, respect and admiration, a bond that emboldens them to face the dangers and pitfalls along their journey with courage and grit.
David Farr should go down in history as one of the great masters of the page-turner. His ability to finish a chapter with gripping tension and intrigue (and therefore my inability to put the book down at any point) is wonderful.
He has a humorous, accessible and endearing turn of phrase that will undoubtedly appeal to his target readers, and the twists and turns of the story, and his attention to detail in building the world of Krasnia, Brava and Port Clement, are evidence of a truly fantastic imagination.
"Dazzling! An instant classic." - Ben Miller
While Farr’s writing and storytelling is the clear draw, we can’t review this book without giving credit to the incredible illustrations by Kristina Kister (https://www.kristinakister.de). The cover artwork is stunning and so well imagined (I’m a sucker for some gold embossing).
Kister’s work is also featured throughout the book as beautiful spot illustrations for chapter headers, and whole page illustrations to divide the book into parts and to reveal new elements of the story. Kister’s attention to the character, feel and setting of the book is evident – I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect illustrator for this book.
"A wonderful story. Gripping and magical." - Anthony Horowitz
In case you couldn’t tell, this is a resounding recommendation to read The Book of Stolen Dreams. And with the seal of approval from Ben Miller (The Day I Fell into a Fairytale), Sophie Anderson (The House with Chicken Legs) and Anthony Horowitz (too many books to mention!), you really can’t ignore this treasure from Usborne. (Lucky Usborne.)
It therefore comes as absolutely no surprise that The Book of Stolen Dreams has so far been longlisted for two awards: The Branford Boase Award 2022 and the Redbridge Children's Book Award 2022. Congratulations to David Farr on his superb debut novel - we can't wait to read the sequel!