Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey

Image from
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012

A member of the most legendary thieving family in all the Five Provinces, 12 year old Jaxter Grimjinx is pretty sure he’s an embarrassment to the entire family. They’ve never said anything, but it would be hard to miss Jaxter’s accident prone clumsiness. Bangers!, he’s so horrible at picking locks that his little sister can pick a lock faster than he can! What he really loves to do is work with plants to create magical substances, but he knows this won’t really help him become a better thief. Or will it? To get the family out of jail, his parents create a fake tapestry, a tapestry that supposedly shows the fate of the town-state of Vengekeep. Jaxter’s mother, a master forger, weaves in all manner of disasters showing the Grimjinx family as the saviors. The Grimjinxes think it’s a great joke, until the catastrophic prophecies start coming true! Jaxter has a plan to save Vengekeep, but can he and his spunky best friend Callie gather everything they need before the worst of the prophecies comes true on the first Mooncrux?

Written from Jaxter’s point of view, this thrilling tale takes readers on a fantastic fantasy adventure. From giant men made of lava to floods, sinister allies to cons gone wrong, there’s plenty to keep the plot exciting and fast paced. The book is divided into three parts: The Con, The Quest, and The Prophecy. Farray has created a rich fantasy world populated by colorful characters that are endearing and relatable. It is also notable that males and females are equally strong within the community, as well as in the Grimjinx family. Made up words (“Bangers!” “Zoc!”) are incorporated in the vernacular, giving the story flavor, but never becoming overwhelming or gratuitous. The dialogue flows naturally and Farray’s humorous writing style fits the story well. A great recommendation for a fantasy lover looking for a new world to explore.

*Learn about plants from around the world that have medical or other uses, as Jaxter learns about the plants from the Five Provinces.

*Learn about the parts of a lock and how the ridges on a key allow the tumblers to align and the lock to open.

*Check out this map of the Five Provinces and other fun stuff on the official Grimjinx website.

*Jaxter’s adventures continue in the recently published sequel (2013), The Shadowhand Covenant

            Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
            Jinx by Sage Blackwood
            The Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan

Age 9+ / Grade 4+

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