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Book Review: The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams by Victoria Williamson #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour

My dear bookish friends!
If you know me or my blog you probably know that I love middle grade stories – they are often so full of special friendships and bonds, imagination and – despite what many people think – they are really deep and make you think. The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams was just like that. A book with a special friendship and one that made me dream – even though it is also quite dark at times (my favourite kind of middle grade!).

A huge thank you to TheWriteReads, TinyTreeBooks and the author for my ebook and spot on the blogtour (none of which influenced my rating in any way)!

Keep on reading to find out more about the book and what I liked so much about it!

About the Book

In a strange little village called Witchetty Hollow, eleven-year-old Florizel is the first to run into the curious visitors who’ve come to open a brand new Daydream Delicatessen and sack-baby factory.

At first, it seems the daydream confection and cheap sack children are the best things that could have happened to the poor folk of the Hollow – after all, who has the money to rent their child from Storkhouse Services these days? But after a few weeks, Florizel starts to notice something odd happening to the adults of the town. First, they seem dreamy, then they lose all interest in their jobs and families. Soon they’re trading all their worldly goods in the newly-opened Pawnshop for money to buy daydreams. With no money for rent payments, the children of Witchetty Hollow are being reclaimed by Storkhouse Services at an alarming rate. Florizel needs to act.

A magical tale of intrigue and adventure from award-winning children’s author Victoria Williamson.

My Review

I loved this book! Think Hensel and Gretel, Tim Burton and Paddington Bear and you kind of have the vibe of The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams. It’s so wonderfully creepy and magical and imaginative, it will keep you entertained from page 1!

As we all know, the original fairytales weren’t as sweet and harmless as many of the retellings we know, and Pawnshop brings us back to the more sinister vibes of the original fairytales. The first thing we see of Witchetty Hollow is a dark forest (the perfect fairytale setting!), and the town’s baddies arriving.
Something very unique about this story is that many children in Witchetty Hollow are ‘rented’, and the better they are at school (for example), the higher their rent. That is why Florizel, our main character, tries her hardest to fail her tests or at least do very badly (even though she is very smart) just so she can stay in her home – and therefore gets bullied by the other children, especially the wealthier ones.

But not only that, there are also a different sort of children: the so-called sack-babies. They are actually filled sacks and so they are very cheap, but have to be returned by their 10th ‘birthday’ and will then be recycled. As you can see, all very unique concepts!

Then one day Florizel meets Burble, a sack-boy. He’s very sweet and charming, but being straw-brained, he also takes things quite literally and often gets in trouble therefore. He goes to school with Florizel, and even though at first she is scared to be bullied even more because he sticks with her, Burble is soon growing on her and they become a great team. For some reason, Burble reminded me a bit of both Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear – he is so charming and often funny without even trying.

As with most middle grade, you can read the story on the literal level and enjoy this fairytale-esque fantasy, but if you wish, you can also dig a little deeper and read between the lines, and you will find much darker themes that can even be applied to our modern capitalist society. You can find themes of big industries and how they are  working based on the citizens’ greed, as well as find that the people are slowly spiralling into debth because of it.

Our two main characters are coping very well in this harsh world, and I loved following them on their adventure. I hope I’m not spoilering too much when I say the ending was, as a fairytale should be, very sweet after the big hurdles have been overcome.

I already loved Hag Storm by this author (highly recommended!), and now I loved Pawnshop too! Can’t wait to read more by Victoria! If you like slightly darker middle grade stories, fairytale vibes and unusual friendships, you will love this book too!

Before I end my review, I also have to mention the marvellous illustrations in the book. They added the perfect olden-days fairytale style and charm, and I loved them! I will definitely get myself a print copy too so I can enjoy them again. I also really loved the book cover – it was great fun working with the elements on the blog tour banner!

5 stars from me!

Thank you so much for reading! Do let me know if you check out The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams yourself!


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