Reviews for Vengekeep Prophecies

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
In a nice twist on Harry Potterlike fantasies of wizards in school, Farrey launches a rollicking saga of life among the Grimjinx, a clan of petty thieves, fortune-tellers, and the ultimate saviors of their Middle Ages-esque world. Twelve-year-old Jaxter recounts this first wild adventure, which begins when he, a clumsy thief but a talented potion maker, must leave the village to find a way to save it. Brief chapters, illustrated with spirited pencil drawings and epigraphs quoting "par-Goblin" sources, take readers on a humorous ride during which Jaxter avoids doom multiple times and makes good friends, including a girl named Callie. The language, which has an Irish flavor, is highly accessible, and Jaxter's own self-deprecations are balanced with his very keen ability to outthink most of his opponents. Jaxter is as heroic as the early Harry, but he has a loving family, which makes a big difference in his ability to trust his own instincts as he works for the community's greater good. Readers will hope for a continuation of the story. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
The least talented thief in his entire clan, Jaxter Grimjinx's skill creating nonmagical antidotes to magic spells leads him on a quest for a remedy when a prophetic tapestry shows a bleak future for the town of Vengekeep--and predicts that its survival relies on the formerly despised Grimjinx clan. Witty dialogue, unlikely heroics, and novel adversities buoy this inventive adventure.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
There couldn't be a more likable family of thieves. The tightknit, affable and affectionate Grimjinx clan is trouble in Vengekeep. They steal (not from anyone poor or weak) and nimbly avoid prosecution. Ma's a master forger, Da an expert thief. Little sister Aubrin (terrific nickname: Jinxface) is an ace pickpocket. But 12-year-old Jaxter, the narrator, is clumsy. Lock-picking evades him. "Every year it became clearer: I really wasn't a very good thief." Jaxter excels at "beating magic with nonmagical means," though: His carefully mixed plant/herb pastes dissolve magical protections on locks and loot. When a tapestry meant to predict Vengekeep's future reveals, astonishingly, that the Grimjinxes are "saviors," readers will giggle as the con emerges. And then the con becomes deadly. The (faked) tapestry's fabric is "fateskein," which means its ominous images will come true. Woe is Ma, who unknowingly used fateskein in the weaving; woe is Vengekeep, now truly destined for lethal plagues. Can Jaxter traverse enough land beyond his familiar town-state to gather the plants and spiderbat milk that might dissolve the fateskein? He's no crackerjack thief, but he has heart and unflagging humor. This funny and serious series opener features action, twists and pleasingly original vocabulary, such as the swear "zoc" (as in "Zoc that") and the expression "bangers," which means, roughly, "awesome." Immediate danger is averted, intriguing questions hover for next time, and Jaxter's headed down a fresh path. Bangers! (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #5

In an excellent, self-contained adventure from Farrey (With or Without You), 12-year-old Jaxter Grimjinx is anxious to prove himself at the family business: thievery. Jaxter's first attempt at burglary ends with a house fire and his family being jailed, but his parents have already put their biggest con into motion, having replaced the prophetic tapestry that predicts the year ahead for the city of Vengekeep with one that shows the Grimjinx family as heroes. The family quickly discovers, however, that the fake tapestry is actually enchanted, and every disaster it depicts is coming true, from lava men to winged skeletal creatures. Stuck in the role of town saviors, the Grimjinxes must destroy the tapestry before it destroys Vengekeep. Farrey's rich fantasy hits the ground running and never lets up. Jaxter has an amazing talent for defeating magic with science, and a strong theme of the value of knowledge runs through the book. Farrey's story is gentle enough for sensitive children, yet the travails of the conniving Grimjinx clan will entertain a broad range of readers. Ages 8-12. Agent: Robert Guinsler, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 4-8--Jaxter Grimjinx was born into a family of thieves, but he's so clumsy that his first big robbery lands his whole family in jail. The Grimjinxes are released when a prophecy woven into a tapestry predicts that they will save the city of Vengekeep from a variety of disasters. The tapestry is revealed to have been planted by Jaxter's parents, but soon all of the predicted disasters start happening. The family discovers that the false tapestry was inadvertently woven out of fateskin, a magical substance that will make all of the false predictions come true and is almost impossible to destroy. Jaxter's interest in herbal remedies to counter magic might hold an answer for how to destroy the fateskin, so he and his friend Callie set off on a quest to find the exotic and magical ingredients and save Vengekeep, meeting both allies and enemies as they race against time to save their city. Farrey creates a world filled with interesting characters and a detailed background culture, including sayings and words in the ancient par-Goblin language now used by thieves, including the Grimjinxes. Jaxter's parents, grandmother, and sister are fully realized and entertaining characters who have many illegal talents. The nonstop action and danger will draw in fantasy and adventure fans and may appeal to reluctant readers as well. While this is the first volume in a trilogy, all immediate action is nicely resolved, making it a satisfying and fun read.--Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

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