First of all this book is not for kids. And probably not for some adults either. The level of violence is quite high in certain parts.
That aside The Child Thief is not a bad book. Far from it. The idea, as dark as it may be, is clearly rooted in the original Peter Pan, making this a bit of an 'what if' story. The main character Nick, is tossed into a situation that is clearly above him but lives and grows into it. Without giving too much details I will say, the concept and the idea behind the story, the base of the story itself would have made this a great book.
So why 3 stars. I would have given it 3.5 if I could have. My 'issue' is with the details. The book is very well written, language wise, and well read. However while it starts out strong, giving a lot of background to the characters and their mindsets, I found the ending (or more like the second half of the book) lacking the details I wanted. Sure we get some of the back stories of the Devils (this books version of the lost boys) but not enough. The little information we get makes me want to know more, but the lack of anything further makes them more ghosts than actual characters. Tiger Lily (who's name in the book I can't remember right now) has such potential but she is never fleshed out.
So in the end you have a book with a lot of really great characters that seem to be stuck in the design stage; they are cool but there's just not enough to them to satisfy me as a reader. It's a bit of a shame because the characters that are fleshed out are really quite well written.
I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that I expected something else. I think something else would have worked better. The way the story resolves for Nick I can live with but everyone else... I just felt the ending was weak, given the build up.
Still I don't regret buying this book. It IS entertaining, just not as much as I had hoped.