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Jinx Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
(Ben, age 8 ... the first book big book he read by himself!)
Jinx lives in what looks at first to be a terrible world; he loses both of his parents (dead or missing) in early childhood, and some step-parents as well; by the time we meet him he's living with a new set of step-parents, to whom he's barely connected, and who are so desperately poor that they plan to leave him in the forest to die in order to be able to feed their new baby. Needless to say, things don't turn out that way (or this would be a very short book). He meets up with Simon the maybe-not-evil wizard... and revealing anything more would involve spoilers.
Jinx, Simon, and the other characters - especially Sophie, Reven, Elfwyn, and Dame Glammer, all think and act - unlike too many characters in children's fantasy novels - just as real people in the same situation might think and act. The story's main villain, the Bonemaster, is clearly Evil with a capital E (as Jinx points out to Reven, he has a bridge made of human bones) - but what's less clear is what it means to be Good. The characters are united in their opposition to the Bonemaster (most of the time), but when left to their own devices their goals and beliefs are often at odds. But there's nothing didactic or preachy about the presentation of these quandaries; this is a very witty book, inspiring frequent smiles. (I'd love to give examples here, but, well, spoilers.)
So when I sat down to read it I was interested to see if I like it as well. I did. This is your basic perfect fairytale. There is a poor unfortunate boy with evil step parents. His stepfather tries to kill him but ends up as troll food instead. Add in witches that ride butter churns (now I want one) a married couple that literally live in different worlds and the amazing landscape of Urwald and you have as original a take on the old poor unwanted kid makes good meme as you can get.
One of my chief delights about this book is that Sage Blackwood can write. The language is rich and the imagery is vivid. It will improve your child's own writing to read things these well written.
It goes without saying that there will be another. That usually annoys me but I will be happy to meet Jinx again. I now also kind of (really) want a butter churn.
Although I'm a fan of The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series, I was never a fan of the fantasy genre or other such books. Nonetheless, this one was quite charming and I actually found myself entertained. Although Jinx is young, he's hardened to life and has learned to survive and you quickly learn to like him. Simon the wizard is interesting, though, and the issue of whether or not he (or any other grownup, for that matter) is trustworthy becomes an interesting wrinkle in the story. Eventually other kids his age are added to the story, but they have their own challenges as well, making them more than just stick-figures in the story. And that seems to be one strength of this story - its characters. It's not Tolkien or Harry Potter, of course, but I enjoyed it and I think a lot of kids will, too. (I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.)
It's not a good idea to introduce main characters late in a story and this is a prime example of why. Once a person is deeply involved in a story with engaging characters, it's hard for a reader to switch gears and suddenly start over with new characters we care nothing about. Especially in the case of what's-her-name, because I already imagined what she'd be like and I had this whole fantasy going on in my head of what it would be like if they ever met... and then, when they did (again, late in the story), and she was completely opposite of what I imagined, it was nigh impossible to switch gears. I simply suffered through the remainder of the story, waiting for someone to die.
When Jinx could see the color of people's thoughts, I was enthralled. But, once the ability was taken from him... I don't know... my interest was taken with it. He was no longer the Jinx I knew and loved. Perhaps I didn't get a deep enough sense of his struggle. I don't know. It just sorta petered. And then it died when he left.
I called my reading partner (we read the same books so we can either relive or excoriate them together later) and expressed my frustration - that it felt like another writer took over - and she said she felt the same way. Needless to say, it was a jarring shift in style.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this for the kids but wanted to read it before I started reading it to them at bedtime(to make sure we wouldn't have nightmares). I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 8 days ago by S. Chamness
I stumbled upon this book and bought it based on the good reviews. I'm very glad I did, and have already bought the next book in the series. Mr. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Marsha
Jinx, wizard's apprentice, begins his adventures in the magic forest of Urwald. Just those few words capture your attention, don't they? This is an absolutely entrancing story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Old Doggy Walker
so cool! if you like magic this is for you. its so fun reading this book, i love it, you should love it to!Published 1 month ago by Colin Held
Loved the story line. I really like that the main character was able to communicate with the forest. Loved it!Published 2 months ago by Starmyst
I didn't like this book. because it seemed to leave a lot of information about the characters and culture out from the beginning. Read morePublished 3 months ago by W. C. Staub
This is my daughter's favorite series! She is reading it a second time and she isn't much of a reader. We are looking for another series that is similar.Published 5 months ago by Amy
Cute little fantasy that young readers will love! Although Jinx's world is very different than ours, Blackwood creates a character that children can easily relate to and obstacles... Read morePublished 7 months ago by merryberry