"Capturing superbly the hustle and bustle, flair and extravagance of late Eighteenth Century times in England's renowned capital, The Diamond of Drury Lane introduces its feisty heroine with an undeniably exciting first adventure. This is historical fiction for young readers at its best--authentic, exciting and fast-moving.Cat Royal is a veritable institution at Mr Sheridan's famous Drury Lane theatre of ye olde London Town, circa 1790. Adopted by the owner after being mysteriously abandoned as a baby on the steps of his infamous establishment, Cat has grown up backstage amidst the glamour of the bright lights, the exotic artistes, hammy actors, melodious musicians and riotous viewing public. The performers are her family, the stagehands her closest friends.However, Cat is growing up and she is beginning to think about what she wants to do with her life. Those thoughts take an unexpected turn when she overhears a conversation about a diamond hidden somewhere in the theatre. Her adventures begin when she tries to find the treasure. Pedro, a gifted musician who is new to the company orchestra, ably assists her. Ever present too are the political ramifications of a mischievous satirical cartoonist called Captain Sparkler, who some suspect is a very important person nearby in disguise.The narrative traverses London and takes in the rival street gangs of Covent Garden, boxing matches, theatre riots, spectacular stage productions and several moments of drama and intrigue. Cat is so likeable as a central character, that readers will soon be caught up in her journey. That journey may only be short geographically, but she learns lots about who she is and who her real friends are. It's great stuff. Look out for the sequel, Cat Among the Pigeons.(Age 9 and over)--John McLay"I have passed this book several times in the Young Adult section of the public library and have always been intrigued to read it. So last month I FINALLY checked the book out and began reading. The book appealed to me as being an 18th Century Nancy Drew series. I was pretty stoked, given I have a fancy for Historical Fiction and Mysterys. I like all kinds of mysteries but this seemed to be more cloak and dagger like and I love those the most.
Unfortunately, for me.. I was very misguided in the fact that this book was in the YA section and not the Middle Grade section. The book is very MG and quite predictable, as well as NOT that much of a mystery. There were parts I liked and enjoyed and the characters are great but honestly it was just a giant book of subliminal lesson teaching to 8-12 year olds.
My other complaint is that the book is a BIG book that dragged out, by page 150 I was only JUST beginning to learn the plot. I rarely complain that a book is too long, usually the opposite is said. However, someone should have heavily edited The Diamon of Drury Lane, the story and atomosphere could have easily been told is less than 200 pages. In fact, I have seen many books, with far more substance do just that.
With that being said... The Diamond of Drury Lane is not a bad book, it is just not a book that should be in the YA section. The right age group would most likely enjoy this book and series. It just wasn't my cup of tea.