Author: Brad Strickland
Jarvey Midion’s life has always been plagued by strange things happening. Things breaking, or exploding, for no discernible reason. But he never thought those things might be a symptom of something more. When his family goes to London for a few days, Jarvey ends up in a world within a book. Can he rescue his parents, escape the book, and outwit the sinister Siyamon?
I wanted to like this, but mostly I found myself bored. Jarvey starts off rather interesting, with incidents that are clearly magical in nature sparking off around him, except his powers hardly ever manifest in the book, and the magic system seems to mostly be one of those “just try really hard” types. Jarvey’s possession of the Grimoire is akin to having the One Ring—a corrupting magical power that can do very great things at a very great cost—but since the book won’t even let him open it most of the time there really isn’t any opportunity for him to be tempted.
Most of the book is Jarvey getting used to an alternate-London and learning how to live on the streets with some kids from there. In that respect, nothing about this stands out from the dozens of other stories I’ve read about kids living on the streets in an old-fashioned London, and in some ways it might be worse because I can’t figure out what the point was. Only the lockpicking seems like it might be a useful skill for the future, unless he goes back to that world (and at that, it was rather unbelievable that he learns to pick locks in a mere two days).
Overall this feels like too little story stretched out for a book in order to make a series. I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the characters, and I didn’t find any of the ideas particularly unique. So although the end isn’t really a conclusion, I find myself disinterested in going any further with the series. I rate this book Neutral.