Friday, February 19, 2016


by Sage Blackwood

Story summary: Jinx is abandoned by his step-father in the wild woods of Urwald, and then promptly kidnapped by a possibly-evil magician. He becomes his apprentice, starts talking to trees, meets a thief boy and a cursed girl--and another magician who has knives in his thoughts.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Also the world and the humour and the adventure and the insights, but mostly those first two.

And Why You Might Not:
  • The only reason I can possibly think of is if you're against kids' entertainment, even if it's fabulous. If you wouldn't read The Chronicles of Narnia and wouldn't watch Pixar because they're for kids, then yeah, you probably won't like this either.


The characters and the way they related to each other reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones in their complexity and realness, and that's one of the biggest compliments I can give. Simon especially, with his grumpiness and possibly-evil-ness, was absolutely delightful. And Simon and Sophie's relationship was just so good. The fact that the author gave the evil, kidnapping magician a wife made me very happy. And such a great, kind, scholarly wife, too!

Also! I found these amazing and beautiful illustrations! So. Good. I want to show all of them, but you'll have to follow these links instead. Here are my favourites:

The only criticism I can possibly think of is that a few well known fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood, were integrated in. It actually felt a little out of place. The land of Urwald seems distinctly itself (this is even sort of a plot point in the third book), albeit it obviously a fairy-tale type land, and it took me out of the story for it to suddenly be recognizable.

But a wonderful, wonderful children's book, and you should read it.

Grade: 4 1/2 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
--Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, or maybe Dark Lord of Derkholm or Archer's Goon or Charmed Life or The Ogre Downstairs or...: because DWJ is one the most entertaining children's authors there are, with wit and cleverness and complicated character relationships.
--The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis: nothing can beat Narnia. But Jinx has some insights into human nature that remind me of Narnia a bit.
--Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway: because it has a similar realness of characters and relationship and family. It's a fantastic book.

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