***Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for the first book.
It's been a few months since Peter and his gang chased off the Others from the starstuff on Mollusk Island. Peter and the Lost Boys have made their home on the island, content and happy. On the other side of the island, Black Stache – now dubbed Captain Hook – and his pirate crew shelter behind their fortress from Peter lobbing mangoes and coconuts overhead, and Mr. Grin, the huge crocodile who has a taste for Hook.
But now there's a new threat. The Others have regrouped, and they're coming back for the starstuff. This time, they come with an ally with abilities no one has seen before.
Shadow Thieves was a long book, but it was suspenseful nearly all the way. We see Peter beginning to realize the consequences of being ageless, never growing older and having to watch his friends grow older without him. It worries him, but he focuses on the trouble at hand, and it doesn't become a very large part of the story.
The new villain is excellently creepy. Lord Ombra strikes fear into the hearts of everyone, and his abilities make him a thing to be even more feared. He might have been a little more ominously scary if he didn't have as much dialogue, or perhaps spoke in the minds of others, but he was still an interesting villain, very set and determined to get what he wants and quickly finds ways to recover himself or hide it when he's taken by surprise in situations.
I enjoyed the intense feel the book had throughout, especially in the climax. The race each side ran to beat the other, to outsmart the opposition. There were plenty of obstacles to be faced, leaving little breathing room for the characters. It was broken up a few times with a storyline on Mollusk Island between Hook and the Lost Boys, but I didn't see the point to it, unless it was to introduce a certain aspect that will come into play in the next book. It could have been dealt with before Peter leaves the island, so the Mollusk Island chapters don't seem lost and swallowed in the main plot.
Tinker Bell was awesome. She was incredibly sassy and sarcastic and provided a bit of amusement in between the intense scenes. Despite being small, she's a force to be reckoned with, with her own set of powers. She's jealous for Peter's sole attentions, and dislikes any other girl Peter is acquainted with. However, she cares for Peter. She will protect him with all her being, however small it is. And however grudgingly, she will protect the people Peter cares for, because they are people he cares about (and because he asks, but still). She's sassy to Peter, but she has a brave heart. Don't mess with this birdgirl.
Violence/gore: We're character had to kill and eat another in order to stay alive before the opening of this book. We're told Nerezza's nose was cut off, also before the book starts. Two characters are shot, and one character is killed by a tumble down some steps.
Profanity: Referenced swearing.
Sexual content: One character is kissed by a mermaid, to give him more air underwater.
Other: Again, the consumption of alcohol is a common habit among sailors. Peter threatens to throw a bucket of urine at an adversary. Ombra's ability to take the shadows of others and manipulate the victims might unsettle some. Molly, George, and Peter disobey Lord Aster's orders.