Series: Jinx #1
Published by Katherine Teagen Books on January 8th, 2013
Genres: fantasy, middle grade
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In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus.
Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’s safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx’s curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon’s unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trod paths. But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest, and soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.
Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.
In a word: disappointing. It’s not as if Jinx was the worst middle grade book I have read, but it was definitely not the best. Now, I can review this book one of two ways: as an adult, which isn’t really fair because this book was not written for me, or as an adult, but whether or not I think kids would like it. To be honest, I think I will do a little bit of both, and I also think this is how I will handle my middle grade reviews from this point forward. I KNOW a lot of adults like middle grade. And you have to know if this book will work for you as an adult because some MG books do not. But I should also state whether I would have liked this book as a kid or not. Here goes.
To be frankly honest, I think this book might have bored me as a kid. The writing is cute, if basic, but the plot seems to go nowhere fast. Plot was everything for me as a kid, and there is definitely not a focus on strong plot points. This happen, but they seem almost accidental, and there isn’t a whole lot of cause and effect going on. The protagonist goes on a journey, and that is where I think a child would become interested. Unfortunately that happens not until about the halfway point, and would this hold a child’s interest that long? I am not sure.
As an adult, I have more patience and I wanted to see how this one would end since it’s a fairly quick read, and I was pretty much bleh about the whole book. I liked the writing enough but it is a bit simplistic for a grown reader. The setting was whimsical and fun but I wanted more, especially since it seemed to be a whole lot of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. Why was it that way? Why were there vampires, trolls, AND werebears? Why is this forest the way it is? Why CAN Jinx listen to the trees? There are a lot of whys and not a lot of answers.
I liked the characters and I thought some of the details were cute and interesting, but it was not enough to make me love this book. I think if I had not already bought book two, I would be throwing in the towel. But I did buy book two when I was in NYC (got it signed too), so I will read up to at least that point. Maybe this will get better, the world building will make more sense, and I will be more engaged with the story. Once I get to the end of that book, if I am not, then I am done. This is a trilogy, in case you were wondering. As far as this book goes, I almost feel like it really dragged. there were so many scenes where it felt as if nothing of importance was going on.
Jinx really left me feeling underwhelmed.
This book covers the ‘child narrator’ square, and I FINALLY got a bingo!! Just in time for Summer bingo too! Haha. Wah wahhh. I think the Summer card is a little bit easier so hopefully I will get more squares?