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The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden

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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Grave robbing is a messy business. A bad business.

And for Thomas Marsden, on what was an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself.

This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune telle
...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Neyly Both. It captures historical London well but with captured faeries trying to escape back to their realm.

Community Reviews

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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  625 ratings  ·  147 reviews


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Stefan Bachmann
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, I loved this. It's a faery story set in Victorian London, so it features poisonous iron, squalor, gateways between worlds, intrepid orphans, otherworldly beings, the usual, EXCEPT NOT, because there's also grave digging. And spiritualism. I especially loved those parts. Spiritualism and séances were kind of a fad in the mid-nineteenth century, and were also kind of creepy because. . . speaking to the dead. Is just creepy. And I had never seen that combined with faeries before. In this book t ...more
Heidi Schulz
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Oh my goodness how I loved this. While accompanying his father on their nightly work robbing graves, Thomas uncovers a body that looks like him down to the last detail. The discovery starts him on a quest to discover who he really is, and an amazing adventure. This beautifully written book feels like both an old-fashioned fairy tale and something fresh and new.
Disclaimer: I know and adore Emma, but that hasn't colored my opinion. This book is wonderful. Anyone who disagrees can go eat an onion.
Fleur (FranklyBooks)
Stars peered through, bright, watching eyes, blinking in horror at the desecration that was to come.

This book has SO MANY ISSUES but it did manage to drag me out of my reading slump. So, for that, I'm thankful. The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden is a short and somewhat sweet read for those who are unaware or do not care about how family values are portrayed. There is beautiful imagery, lovely descriptions and the author manages to effectively convey how terrible the big problem actually
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Hanaa
Aug 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
It sucks when the cover is more lovely than the actual book itself.
Totoro
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, wonderful
how wonderful was this book
oh i loved evvvvrey word

hmm, the story was of course middle grade, full of ..... will i spoil anything by saying it? um i guess i would , so i'll keep my mouth closed.

well the story was set in London 19th century i feel, and is about a 12 year old boy who is very poor and miserable at the beginning but wonderful, magical things are about to happen, but in no way it's cliche. wonderful story line, characters were great i loved them, the twists and turns got me hooked t
...more
Kassiah
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 stars.

This story was absolutely adorable. I can't believe I hesitated in picking it up because I thought it would be scary!

I've been a huge fan of Emma Trevayne for years and years and will definitely read anything that the girl writes. When I saw that she had ventured into the world of middle grade, I was crazy excited. I'm not really into historical fiction, but I guess I make an exception for middle grade and amazing authors. Honestly, I thought it would be hard for her to top Coda, but I t
...more
Jillian
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
It was good, but not as good as the first chapter or so promised. I was waiting for a really good supernatural mystery/spooky story, and instead I got a straightforward "hero saves the day" story. I thought I saw twists coming, but there were no twists. There were several Chekhov's Guns that remained unfired. And the ending wrapped things up just a bit too neatly, a bit too quickly.
Laura Noakes
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING. So good it hurts. Fairies and magic and whimsy and creepiness all rolled up into one. One of the best MG books I've read!
Wendy
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads
Set in Victorian England “The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden” is an exciting adventure that begins with grave robbing, the discovery of a dead body that looks exactly like Thomas Marsden along with a cryptic note. Abandoned in a graveyard where years before he was found and adopted by Silas Marsden and his wife Lucy, Thomas begins a search for his identity and lineage uncovering faerie- folk held hostage by the poison of iron and at the mercy of an evil spiritualist.

Blending adventure an
...more
Marina
** Books 31 - 2019 **

This books to accomplish Tsundoku Books Challenge 2019

3 of 5 stars!


Wohoo! my 8th Books from Big Bad wolf 2019 is finally finished read! Actually I bought this pieces since the cover is so gorgeous!! And I'm wondering why the boy at the cover looking down to the hole and found someone similar with him as same as his face?? :O

Have you guys read Coraline by Neil Gaiman before? This books is have similar vibe when i read a few first pages but after i finished the books the stor
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Kayla
I found this book at a library sale and was instantly attracted to the gorgeous cover and intriguing title. It seemed a little dark for a middle-grade book, enough so that I dove into it without reading anything about the book so I could get the full, uninhibited experience.

The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden is kind of hard to pin down with it's genre. Set in the past, with fantasy elements, a mystery plot, as well as a hero's quest, it's truly unlike anything I've ever read before. Pair
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Karen
I liked this book well enough to give it three stars. It improves after Thomas finally learns the truth. However, the story moves too slowly and the author unnecessarily withholds information from the reader to prolong the story development. What's more, I found that I had to re-read some sentences and paragraphs to figure out what the heck was going on. The narrative was confusing at times. I thought the author had an interesting idea, but the story simply meandered and dithered too much. The r ...more
Anna
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thomas has grown to nearly twelve years old as the child of a grave robber when the night before his birthday he digs into a grave and finds himself, down to the blemish on his cheek. As he delves into his past to solve this mystery he discovers more mysteries and a great evil that perhaps only he has the power to stop.
A nicely put together book with an entrancing story and delightful characters.
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot more gripping and sad than I thought it'd be, and it made me think of similar novels such as The Graveyard Book and Welcome to Dead House.
Vivian Wolkoff
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Middle grade fantasy isn't a genre I tend to read. In fact, I think the last middle grade book I read was the very first Harry Porter, when I was still a teenager.
Still, I wanted to pick something up that was:
a. fantasy,
b. not part of a series and
c. didn't have any romance or angst in it.
This book caught my eye when I was browsing the shelves at a local bookstore and I decided to pick it up (the cover is quite gorgeous).
I can't say it was an easy read, but it wasn't the books fault. The book is
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Katie Bodden
I continually forget to update when I finish a book~ I liked this, but mostly towards the end. It seemed to take a while to get to something interesting, which was slightly annoying, but I did like the information provided. Good read for a kid, but not too bad for an adult :)
Gwen Wolverton
Jun 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
*Borrrrrrringgggggg*

I love fairies. But this book was bland, the characters could of been developed to be more interesting. The author should of made it more interesting about the fairies rather than making them appear weak and boring. I had to force myself to finish this book.
Carina Olsen
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw that precious cover. And yet it still took me weeks after it published until I read it. But now I have. I did like it a lot. But it was different from what I thought it would be. Giving it three stars. There was nothing I hated about it, but I still didn't fully love the book.

I don't know where to begin. I'm not really sure what I had imagined this book to be about. Maybe, you know, that Thomas was actually dead, considering he found his body in a
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Milliebot
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
“Thomas Marsden was eleven years old when he dug up his own grave.”

I mean, let’s just leave the blurb at that, shall we? If a middle grade book about a grave robbing kid who finds himself buried isn’t intriguing enough, then you don’t need to know more about this book.

I love dark middle grade, and the cover of this book probably would have sold me by itself, but I have to say, I expected a little more than what I got from this book.

Thomas is a good kid – yes, his father has him assist with grave
...more
Jonathan Lin
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A good read to pass the time, though with some disappointing faults.

Thomas Marsden is just your average eleven-year-old, in happy anticipation of his twelfth birthday. He's also seen more rotting bodies and skeletons than the majority of most humans in his time as a grave robber, but then again, we all have hobbies.

Young Marsden's hardened mind isn't prepared at all, however, when he digs up what seems to be a freshly buried version of himself. Along with the body, he finds a series of
...more
Wahyu Novian
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Even middle grade fantasy book where we can meet faeries and has some magics can be so gloomy. It was so fit with foggy and gray London (at least what I gather from TV and such, never been in London. 😅)

“He was sure, in the scouring light of day and with some time to think, that he didn’t believe the fortune-teller or anything Lucy had said. But it was a pleasantly fanciful notion, and regardless of why, someone was leading Thomas on an adventure the likes of which he’d never had in his short, du
...more
Colten Hibbs
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the first moment I heard about the boy who dug up his own grave I had to get my hands on his story.
As with all great fairytales THE ACCIDENTAL AFTERLIFE OF THOMAS MARSDEN is finely woven, resonant, and intricate.
It's a wonderfully dark and exciting story, beautifully told with a voice that is wholly unique yet reminiscent of Neil Gaiman and Holly Black.
This definitely sits in my top 5 books of 2015 :-)
Kim McGee
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting tale of old London where a young boy whose work as a grave robber stops the night he digs up someone too familiar - himself. Others have been watching and guide him on his quest to find out who and what he is. With the help of his adopted parents, friend and some over worked fairies, Thomas will draw up courage he didn't know he had and discover his true family. Just a little bit creepy but not enough to keep young ones awake.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Grave-robbing uncovers more than Thomas bargains for -- a boy that looks exactly like him. This discovery is just the beginning of a series of revelations about who he really is.
Leah
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 maybe? Fun with a touch of a creepiness ♥
Nikalyn
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This book had such a cute cover. I wanted it to be much better than it actually was. It was kinda boring and the story was kinda confusing at the end.
Adam James
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
The first 10 pages of Emma Trevayne's The Afterlife of Thomas Marsden are absolutely fantastic.

And then the rest of the book happens.

How could anyone resist the premise and beginning of this novel? A boy is out robbing graves with his father only to discover at the bottom of a freshly buried gravesite....himself?? How could it be??

And then Trevayne explains it.

I just don't know how an author can absolutely whiff on such an irresistible premise. Give this premise to Neil Gaiman, and he'd have a
...more
Josephine (biblioseph)

Grave robbing is a messy business. A bad business.

And for Thomas Marsden, on what was an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself.

This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune teller’s frightened screams that lead Thomas into a strange world of spiritualists, death and faery folk.

Faery folk with whom Thom
...more
Samantha
May 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I first picked up this book I can't say I expected it to change my life and in reality it DIDN'T but I'm not upset about the book either. It was a short read but it ended up touching on some themes that actually went a little deeper than I expected for a middle grade novel.

The story centers around a boy named Thomas who is a graverobber with his father and one night they dig up a grave and inside is a boy who looks identical to Thomas. Thus starts the story of Thomas's introduction to the w
...more
Ben
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because of the cute cover, but lord god, was it slow to start. Once it got going, it got a little better, but it still dragged terribly. Basically, Thomas has to do things. We have to spend the whole book leading up to how he has to do things. Then we get to the explanation of why he has to do the things. But when it comes time to it happening? Wow, lickety split, the book is done. The ending felt so rushed and weird, I wonder if the editor cut down the number of pages? Bec ...more
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Science fiction and fantasy author of novels for kids and teens.