Series: The Vengekeep Prophecies #1
Published by HarperCollins on October 23rd 2012
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“You can’t convict what you can’t confirm.” That’s the motto of 12-year-old Jaxter Grimjinx and his infamous family of thieves. And while Jaxter may not have his father’s burglary prowess, his mother’s forgery skills, or his little sister’s mastery of sleight-of-hand, his book-fed knowledge of non-magical solutions to magical problems makes him invaluable to the family’s heists.
But the Grimjinxes may have pulled one con too many in their hometown, Vengekeep. After swapping the prophetic tapestry used to guide Vengekeep’s actions for a fake concocted by Jaxter’s mother, the Grimjinxes are stunned when the false prophecies begin coming true, bringing destruction in their wake.
Suddenly, Vengekeep is besieged by “natural” disasters and rampaging monsters, courtesy of the secretly enchanted counterfeit tapestry. With his family forced to stay and combat the impending doom, Jaxter must leave his hometown in search of a way to keep the increasingly dangerous prophecies from wiping Vengekeep off the map.
The Vengekeep Prophecies is the first in a series about a boy named Jaxter who is from an infamous family of thieves. When his parents swap a prophetic tapestry for a fake, they find the prophecies starting to come true. Suddenly, the family is asked to save their town from monsters and natural disasters. The problem is a lot of the prophecies they faked are really dangerous. The worst part, they are stuck in town until all of them come true. Jaxter is able to leave and must head on a quest to find all of the items to destroy the tapestry and stop the prophecies from coming true.
Jaxter is an interesting character in that he is a terrible thief. His own little sister, who doesn't talk, is a better thief than him. He's clumsy in all things but he has a fascination with learning, including a book of herbs that help to combat magic. This skill has come in handy and his parents always support him and try to help him, even when failing at thieving. Which is why they trust him to save the day on his own. A new found friend Callie forces Jaxter to take her with him, and she helps him sneak out through the tunnels of the town and into the world.
With every adventure comes dangers and obstacles, so Jaxter is glad to have Callie along. Together they meet an old family friend, or so he says, Edilman knows Jaxter's parents but is marked to go off to his own execution. Even so, they trust him and he takes them to see the Duchess under the guise of a teacher and two pupils. Jaxter and the Duchess have much in common, both loving to learn about herbs and plants and their many uses. So when it comes time to steal from her, Jaxter is regretful but is convinced she wouldn't just let them take what they need. Of course, trusting Edilman proves to be a bit disasterous as his plans are bigger than just helping the pair find what they need.
Soon, they are running for their lives, no longer with any help and still quite the list to gather to save their town. Will Jaxter and Callie be able to save the town before it burns to the ground?
I really enjoyed the adventurous nature of this book. Jaxter is a likeable character in that he has his flaws and strengths and starts to learn to use them wisely. Unfortunately, Callie didn't live up to expectation as a sidekick character. I felt like she fell into the background too much or just came off as annoying and bothersome. I did enjoy the Duchess and the end of the book was quite a surprise as well, which will lead me to read the next book. The Vengekeep Prophecies is a book for fantasy lovers that want something a little bit different and with lots of added humor.