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Readers Advisory: The Nethergrim

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Philomel, $17.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0399159983, April 2014

Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!

Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together–and work apart–in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.

In a superb debut, Jobin blends epic fantasy, horror, and tight character development for an engrossing adventure.

Edmund wants to be a wizard more than anything, but as eldest son, he’s set to inherit his family’s inn. His best friend Katherine is the daughter of a hero and can ride and fight better than most men. The third of the trio, Tom, is a slave with a gift for handling animals and healing with herbs. Together, they face a nightmare of legendary proportions, made all the more terrifying by its mystery. Also, made all the more terrifying by the hoards of scary minions that do its bidding.

Gritty, gory, and filled with danger and sacrifice, this new series makes a perfect intro to the dark side of fantasy for young teens, or tweens who are ready to handle a few brutal scenes.  A chilling, thrilling tale of bravery.

Recommend to: Fans of Harry Potter and Last Apprentice

To buy or not to buy: Buy!

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