Title: The Vengekeep Prophecies
Author: Brian Farrey
Jaxter Grimjinx was born to be a thief, but he’s not very good at it. Sure, he can mix up a potion to break through magical protections on locks, but his klutziness ensures he’ll never get much further than that. He’s so bad his first real job lands his family in the gaol–until a suspicious prophecy that names his family as the town’s saviors emerges. Now he’ll need every skill he can possess to confront the oncoming challenges as the rest of the prophecy starts coming true. . .
Having been born into a family of generational thieves, Jaxter is naturally expected to take up the family line of business. The only problem is he’s no good at it. The contrast between his skill with plants and his ineptness with thievery is a big part of the plot. I liked Jaxter’s voice, but it felt rather uneven to me. He initially comes off as far too cool, then reveals he’s actually afraid. His clumsiness was so bad I kept expecting someone to find out he’s actually cursed, as that would make a lot more sense with how competent he can be (such as staying balanced while sliding down a bridge, or handling acidic plants).
Apart from that, though, it’s a pretty solid story. There’s the irony of the no-good Grimjinxes sealing their own doom (and that of the town) and the whole family needing to act in the interests of others far more than is comfortable for them. Jaxter has a pretty good relationship with his parents, which is why it’s hard for him to decide between what he thinks they want him to do and what he really wants to do. I was surprised Jaxter trusts thieves as easily as he does, since he more than anyone ought to know these are habitual liars, but he’s also young and hasn’t known many villains outside his own family, who do stick to their own particular code of honor.
Overall this is a fun read. I like the little quotes that start off each chapter, the way nature and magic interact, and Jaxter himself. I rate this book Recommended.