Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Legends Begin (Darkmouth #1)

Title: The Legends Begin

Author: Shane Hegarty

Finn’s family has always hunted the Legends that break through into this world. Minotaurs, manticores, gryphons and more have all fallen in battle against his ancestors. Especially his dad. Finn’s dad is driven, and he wants his son to be just as good as he is. Only Finn isn’t. He’s almost capable, which isn’t good enough. But if Finn doesn’t get three successful Hunts in before his thirteenth birthday, he’ll be the first failed Legend Hunter in his family.

This would probably resonate more with younger readers because the plot is pretty obvious for most of the way through, which means it’s more about how much you enjoy the journey than any particular surprises about where it’s going. That was my main issue, honestly. Emmie’s hidden motivations might as well be stated up front, although the addition of a second traitor was a nice touch.

It’s got a good setup for future novels. Finn isn’t sure if he can tolerate being a Legend Hunter, even if he could magically become good at it. The twist at the very end indicates the series as a whole might get a lot more interesting. I don’t really have much to say other than I was underwhelmed, having expected more from the various reviews I’d read.

Overall if you’re looking for a light read with some humor and a lot of people-eating monsters, this isn’t too bad. I rate this book Neutral.

The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2)

Title: The Mad Apprentice

Author: Django Wexler

Alice has only been an apprentice Reader for a few months, but she’s starting to get more comfortable with her power and her new life. Too comfortable? She can’t forget Ending’s comments about Readers building their power on slavery. But when another Reader’s apprentice somehow manages to murder his master, Alice and a group of apprentices are sent to apprehend him. It’s her first time (officially) meeting others like her. Her first time being sent to kill someone. She’s not sure what she’ll do when the moment comes—but at the end of this path may lie answers about what happened to her father, and she’s willing to go through any amount of danger for that.

This starts fast and never lets up. Interestingly, Alice’s powers continue to expand, not only in the normal binding-creatures-for-power ways but in new directions. But she’s rather short on friends—the closest she can get is with Ashes, a half-cat, and perhaps Isaac. If Isaac would actually talk to her.

This book continues to unfold the world, as well. Plenty of new (and hideous) creatures roam the lair the apprentices are wandering. The various apprentices offer oblique insights into how other Readers function. Garret in particular seems the spitting image of a master Reader, although oddly enough he’s only got one trick up his sleeve. Granted, it’s incredibly powerful, but he’s not half as creative as Alice.

And the plot isn’t about pulling punches. Even when it’s handled with humor, like Dex explaining how her arm had once been bitten off, it’s clear the stakes are real, and very high.

Alice’s relationship with Isaac continues to evolve in more complicated ways, which I liked. Maybe a friend and an ally in a world that tries to stamp out all such ties. Maybe an enemy, although not quite as much this time as he was before. I hope they do remain friends. Especially since Alice’s decision at the end will likely lead her down much darker roads to come.

Overall this is an excellent followup to an already strong book. Although it will help to have read The Forbidden Library first, it isn’t required. I rate this book Recommended.