Jinx by Sage Blackwood

JinxIt took me a while to get around to this book, even though I liked the sound of the plot description. Part of the blurb on the back cover compared it to another children’s fantasy series (semi-well known; nothing huge) that I wasn’t crazy about. I didn’t DISlike that other series, but I merely found it ‘fine’. I almost put Jinx back on the library shelf several times, but each time the plot description made me keep it — I’m so glad I did.

As a small boy, Jinx was almost abandoned in the dense, dangerous Urwald by his stepfather, but a wizard named Simon happened upon the situation and adopted him as an assistant. For the next several years, Jinx lives in Simon’s house, first just cleaning up after him, and eventually learning small magics. Jinx thinks that Simon is keeping magical secrets from him, but Jinx is keeping secrets from Simon, too–he has a greater connection to the trees of Urwald than anyone knows. Eventually, Jinx has to strike out on his own into the depths of the forest, to get back something he’s lost, to figure out just what kind of magic he wants to do, and to discover what kind of wizard Simon really is.

This book was a delight: in spite of the fantasy setting, the world is perfectly grounded. The characters feel real, and their relationships and interactions are believable. The domestic setting–Simon’s house, with its kitchen, magic rooms and myriad cats–is a place that a reader would want to see and explore, and the Urwald–peopled by trolls and butter-churn-riding witches–is vividly described.

I’ll go ahead and make some comparisons of my own. Any reader who enjoys Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, or the Patricia C. Wrede Enchanted Forest Chronicles will feel right at home, and will immensely enjoy their journey with Jinx. I can only hope that there will be sequels.

Posted by: Sarah

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