The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library: Volume II) by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson
Kathy Dawson Books, 2015. 978-0803739765
Synopsis: As a Reader, Alice is becoming exposed to a world she didn’t even know existed until she was sent to live with her Uncle Geryon – and it is not always a safe world at that. So when another Reader dies and Alice (along with five other apprentices) is sent to ‘deal with’ the dead man’s apprentice, she begins to realize that the world and the power of a Reader is so much more terrifying that she could have ever imagined.
Why I picked it up: I read and loved The Forbidden Library, but had forgotten there were two more books until I was searching for my next great read at my local library.
Why I finished it: Wexler has taken children’s fantasy to a different level with this series, marrying the traditional aspects of magic and the supernatural with those of a mystery/crime drama. Since she has come to stay with Geryon, Alice has been searching for answers about her father, but nothing definitive – a frustration that is driving her more and more through these last books of the trilogy. She is hoping she will be able to find more pieces to the puzzle when she is tasked with investigating the murder of another Reader. It quickly becomes clear that the apprentices are dealing with more than they can handle, and as Alice and the others race to find a solution, we see our heroine once again stepping forward to become a leader. As I stated before, Alice’s motivations are much stronger in this volume and it is helping to round out and grow her as a character. She’s quickly learning to think on her feet in order to keep one step ahead of the creatures that case them. She’s learning to be smarter about playing dumb, which sounds sort of funny but it’s what is helping her keep her fact-finding mission a secret from her master. This novel moves at a much faster clip, keeping the adrenaline of the characters and the reader at a high even in the last few chapters. It’s another series to read if you are missing Harry Potter or The Kane Chronicles and sure to delight those readers who really liked the first book. It’s guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Other related materials: The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson; The Palace of Glass (The Forbidden Library Volume III) by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson; Inkheart by Cornelia Funke; Inkspell by Cornelia Funke; Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke; The Books of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West; Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein; The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein; Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein; The Mapmakers Trilogy books by S.E. Grove; The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White, illustrations by Andrea Offermann; Jinx by Sage Blackwood; The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbott, illustrations by Bill Perkins; The Wildwood Chronicles books by Colin Meloy, illustrations by Carson Ellis; 13 Treasures trilogy by Michelle Harrison; The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey