Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review: Jinx - The Wizard's Apprentice by Sage Blackwood

Publisher: Quercus
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: June 6th, 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Amazon summary:

It's not every day that your evil stepdad abandons you in the deep, dark forest of the Urwald. And it's not every day that a wizard rescues you from the clutches of gnarly trolls. But for Jinx, this isn't turning out to be a very normal sort of day... The bubbling cauldrons and coloured potions of the wizard's house are a world away from the life Jinx has left behind. Even the walls are soaked in magic, and it's not long before Jinx begins to unlock his own rare powers. But Simon Magus is no ordinary wizard. He seems to need something from Jinx - something dark. And Jinx begins to wonder: can he trust Simon... at all? 


I completely missed the 2013 publication of Jinx: The Wizard's Apprentice and was only made aware of the series when the second book was about to be published. I played catch-up and read the first book and you know what? I really enjoyed it!

Jinx is rescued by Simon the wizard when he's left in the Urwald forest by his horrid stepfather. Almost eaten by trolls, he has a lucky escape and subsequently finds himself with a new home and guardian. As Jinx grows older he realises that he has some magic powers of his own, but then comes a new threat: something dark, and closer to home than he thinks...

Let me start by saying that Jinx, whether he be six years old or eleven, is a fantastic, funny person. He's sarcastic, petulant, independent, and prone to answering back. I was at work reading it and laughing out loud at things he said to Simon; dry humour is a love of mine and Jinx likes it too, it seems. The relationship he has with Simon is good and bad on different days, and I really enjoyed seeing how they became closer then got on each other's nerves and vice versa. Although they're not related, they have a typical father-son relationship that Sage Blackwood utilises perfectly.

There are lots of fantasy creatures and people within the pages of this book: trolls, witches, werewolves, vampires. You name it and it probably exists within the Urwald. There are witches who travel in jumping barrels, werewolves who'd eat you in a second and enough magic swirling about to make even Dumbledore sit up and take note. I love anything like that, so this series is right up my street!

Jinx: The Wizard's Apprentice culminates with an exciting exploration of good vs. evil, when Jinx and his new friends come face to face with deep, dark magic. It's not the most original children's book you'll ever read - there are a few similarities to, say, Harry Potter (mostly just the wizard/magic/trio of friends side of things) - but that's to be expected and doesn't detract from the story at all. In fact, I think Jinx and Harry would have been great friends had they ever met! I have the second book, Jinx's Magic, ready to read and I'm looking forward to it already. I hope Jinx's sense of humour is on form!

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