Dear readers, my brains are all jumbled with the craziness of back-to-school and planning my library’s giant Talk Like a Pirate Day event. But in my ongoing quest to tell you about books I love, I will do my best to wrap my brain about this.
Jinx’s Fire by Sage Blackwood. Harper Collins Children’s, 2015.
This, my friends, was one of my most eagerly anticipated sequels for the year, and I went extra slowly with it by reading it aloud to my son over the course of several months instead of devouring it in a day or two all by myself. So worth it! I’d read the first two to him, but only after reading them first myself. So be warned: this is the third book in the series and you’ll want to start at the beginning if you haven’t already.
Things are in bad shape, both for Jinx personally and the Urwald in general, as the story opens. The only bright spot is that Sophie, his master Simon’s wife, is in the Urwald. Simon, though, is still trapped by the Bonemaster. There are three separate armies trying to divide the Urwald between them, burning trees and raiding clearings. Jinx is still trying to convince everyone in the Urwald that they should work together against the armies. This requires diplomacy, and diplomacy is not something that comes easily to Jinx. He and Sophie and the werewolf Malthus are also trying to work out how to rescue Simon, studying texts written in deliberately obfuscating language. Only one thing is clear: if anyone can save Simon, it will be Jinx, and he will have to travel the Paths of Fire and Ice. If he can figure out what they are and how to do this. And then there is war, and while Jinx wants to win, he also doesn’t want to kill anyone – this was something that needed a lot of talking about with my son, used as he is to books where no one things twice about getting rid of bad guys however they can.
There is so much to love! Jinx has to work to figure out his powers, even if he is the Special One, that it doesn’t come easily and that having the powers doesn’t necessarily give him the charisma to win everyone to his cause or get him out of thinking about the consequences of his actions. There are the maturing relationships with Sophie,going from young child and adult to mostly adult and adult, and Elfwyn, working around the realm of pink fluffy thoughts. Elfwyn has grown, too, from just being mad at her curse of having to tell the truth to skillfully using it to accomplish things. And even though I focus on characters, there were plenty of battles and quests, skillfully handled to satisfy my action-loving son as well. This is another series that I give out to kids in search of new fantasy series, if I can find it in when they come looking.
Note: A while back, I had the unique experience of having someone come into the library looking for recent American fantasy books that had been translated into German for her to give to her grandson in Germany. I didn’t discover it until just after that patron left, but in case any of you are looking for such a thing, these books are available in German.