From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Jaxter Grimjinx was born into a family of thieves, but he's so clumsy that his first big robbery lands his whole family in jail. The Grimjinxes are released when a prophecy woven into a tapestry predicts that they will save the city of Vengekeep from a variety of disasters. The tapestry is revealed to have been planted by Jaxter's parents, but soon all of the predicted disasters start happening. The family discovers that the false tapestry was inadvertently woven out of fateskin, a magical substance that will make all of the false predictions come true and is almost impossible to destroy. Jaxter's interest in herbal remedies to counter magic might hold an answer for how to destroy the fateskin, so he and his friend Callie set off on a quest to find the exotic and magical ingredients and save Vengekeep, meeting both allies and enemies as they race against time to save their city. Farrey creates a world filled with interesting characters and a detailed background culture, including sayings and words in the ancient par-Goblin language now used by thieves, including the Grimjinxes. Jaxter's parents, grandmother, and sister are fully realized and entertaining characters who have many illegal talents. The nonstop action and danger will draw in fantasy and adventure fans and may appeal to reluctant readers as well. While this is the first volume in a trilogy, all immediate action is nicely resolved, making it a satisfying and fun read.-Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In a nice twist on Harry Potterlike fantasies of wizards in school, Farrey launches a rollicking saga of life among the Grimjinx, a clan of petty thieves, fortune-tellers, and the ultimate saviors of their Middle Ages–esque world. Twelve-year-old Jaxter recounts this first wild adventure, which begins when he, a clumsy thief but a talented potion maker, must leave the village to find a way to save it. Brief chapters, illustrated with spirited pencil drawings and epigraphs quoting “par-Goblin” sources, take readers on a humorous ride during which Jaxter avoids doom multiple times and makes good friends, including a girl named Callie. The language, which has an Irish flavor, is highly accessible, and Jaxter’s own self-deprecations are balanced with his very keen ability to outthink most of his opponents. Jaxter is as heroic as the early Harry, but he has a loving family, which makes a big difference in his ability to trust his own instincts as he works for the community’s greater good. Readers will hope for a continuation of the story. Grades 4-7. --Francisca Goldsmith