Book Review: The Artful by Wilbert Stanton—and a Giveaway!

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Title:The Artful 
Series: Shadows of the City #1
Author: Wilbert Stanton 
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult



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The ArtfulThe Artful
Shadows of the City #1
Wilbert Stanton
Curiosity Quills Press, May 2014
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.


To the reader who’s just starting The Artful: keep at it. Yes, the story is slower than you might like in a post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian novel but the action will pick up if you have a little patience. I admit I came close to giving up but I pushed on and I’m glad I did.

The interesting thing to me about this book is that I wasn’t overly enthralled with the characters immediately but they grew on me (although I never really liked Dodger) and I really appreciated the Dickensian flavor with a large dash of Robin Hood. Still, all is not lighthearted, just the opposite in fact. These boys live in a world of danger and gloom, the latter emphasized by a sun allergy. There are people in our world who cope with a similar condition known as Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and still more suffer from a depressive reaction to Seasonal Affective Disorder so the author’s concept of people being unable to let the sun’s rays touch them—and the consequences—is not so hard to believe.

Most of all, perhaps, this is a tale of great friendship and that is what made it appeal to me the most. We don’t see a lot of young adult books that feature boys as the main characters and even rarer is the book that shares the bond that can grow between those boys. Girls tend to have a lot of friends including one or two who are very close while boys frequently have just the one or two. As a result, the male and female friendships can have a different intensity. Dodger and Twist offer a good deal of insight to the reader about male friendships and I feel richer for it.

I do think this story suffers somewhat from firstbookitis in that there are holes in the plot, the character development and the worldbuilding but they didn’t cause me to want to DNF. Mr. Stanton has created a world and characters that I want to know more about and I am looking forward to getting more answers—and action—in the next book. I fully expect Mr. Stanton will hit his authorial stride then.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2014.

About the Author


Wilbert StantonWilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

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Leave a comment below and you might
win an ebook copy of The Artful by
Wilbert Stanton!
The winning name will
be drawn on Thursday evening,
August 14th, and the ebook
will be sent out after September 8th.


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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Artful by Wilbert Stanton—and a Giveaway!

  1. Great review, Lelia! This sounds like my kind of dystopian! I actually seem to prefer the ones that start slow and get us to get to know the characters before the sh*t hits the fan you know. I mean there is a line of how slow I like it to be but I’m glad this one picks up and makes it worth it! Friendship is something I love to see more of in books, and not just romance, you know! Glad you liked it! 🙂


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