Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is the first book of a new Middle Grade Fantasy series. When I received an email asking if I’d like a copy to review, I jumped at the chance because the title reminded me of another book called The Books of Shadows that I remember reading about in another book as a child.
Title: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows
Author: J.M. Bergen
Expected Publication: Feb. 2, 2019 by Elandrian Press
Paperback 352 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
“Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.
Seven years have passed, and Thomas hasn’t forgotten. He hasn’t forgotten the blue of his dad’s eyes either, or the tickle of beard on his cheek as they hugged goodbye. Last moments with a parent are memorable, even if you don’t know that’s what you’re having at the time.
Now, with his 13th birthday rapidly approaching, Thomas’s search for magic is about to take a radical and unexpected turn. At an out-of-the-way shop filled with dusty leather books, a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes offers him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows. The price is high and the rules are strict, but there’s no way Thomas can resist the chance to look inside.
With the mysterious book guiding the way, a strange new world is revealed – a world in which Thomas has a name and destiny far more extraordinary than he ever imagined. But time is short. Even as Thomas uncovers his secret family history, enemies emerge, threatening to end his rise to power and destroy everything he holds dear.”
“A sign hung above a wooden door with slightly faded red paint. The lettering was too small to read, but there were splotches of purple around the edges. It was the only purple Thomas could see anywhere…The sign came into focus. H&A Booksellers, Purveyors of Fine Books and Rare Manuscripts.”
Thomas Wildus is a typical boy with a loving mother and funny best friend, until he stumbles upon a strange bookstore where an interesting man named Huxsley lets Thomas borrow a very unique book called The Book of Sorrows. In order to read the book Thomas must agree to three rules:
1. No one can know about the book
2. Read one chapter at a time
3. Can only read it alone at home
In addition to the three rules, Thomas must also help around the shop, which is when he meets a woman named Adelia. Thomas discovers a whole new world of magic, learning more about himself, his family, and his friends.
Thomas and his best friend Enrique give a great example of positive male friendship and comic relief. All of the characters are well-written with unique personalities. The writing style is perfect for Middle Grade. My nine-year-old son enjoyed reading the first few chapters with me. He ended up getting bored with it, he’s more of a graphic novel reader (he has ADHD and struggles with “chapter books” without pictures). Even though this is a Middle Grade book I quite enjoyed the story!
1. The title is too similar to Harry Potter series titles.
2. The Book of Sorrows parts included in italics are boring, and I think a typical kid 8-12 years old would do what I did and skim over those parts.
3. The first 100 pages are kinda slow, BUT once the last quarter is fast-paced with lots of action.
Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is an entertaining debut novel that I highly recommend to fans of Middle Grade Fantasy books. The next book in the series is Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria.
Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*
“J.M.’s debut fantasy/magic series originally started as a bedtime story for his oldest son. The story turned into a saga, and one book turned into five. The first book in the series, Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows, is scheduled for release in February 2019.
When J.M. isn’t working on the Thomas Wildus books, you can find him playing with his kids, napping, or dreaming up new adventures. If you ever meet him and can’t think of anything to talk about, you might ask about Herman the Shark, the Kai and Eli stories, or why Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip is his all-time favorite book. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll have questions and stories of your own (if you do, he’ll think that’s far more interesting).”