This is a fun story. I wanted to read this book because of its title, Jinx, there’re so many possibilities of how this story could turn out. Of course, it has to involve magic! If not, I wouldn’t have read it. Also, it must involve a character to whom weird things will happen. To say the least, the story turned out almost as I thought it would and almost better.
Jinx is about an orphan boy who once resided with his stepmother and stepfather until they chose to get rid of him. To do this, his stepfather took him into the forest, the Urwald, and stepped off the path (it’s recommended that one should not step off the path in the forest since bad things could happen: attacked by trolls or werewolves, or tricked by the trees) and tried to leave him in there. However, the stepfather could not find his way back to the path. Luckily, or unluckily, a wizard happened to be about. The wizard, called Simon, happened to be in need of a boy so Jinx’s stepfather sold him to the wizard before being taken off by trolls, which may or may not have been called by the wizard.
Jinx goes off to live with the wizard Simon, tidying the house and such. While there, he meets butter churn-riding witches and travelers who stop by the wizard’s house. After living there for a while, he meets Simon’s wife Sophie, who lives in another part of the world. Apparently, Simon’s house has a portal that can take a person to a land called Samara, which is where Sophie lives. Sophie doesn’t do much except to rile Simon up and treat Jinx like the little boy he is at times. I think her purpose in the story was simply to lure Jinx to Samara and heighten his interest in magic.
Jinx does visit Samara, briefly, but was brought back to the Urwald by Simon. After a little argument it was decided that Simon would teach Jinx magic. Jinx is eager to learn but becomes frustrated and begins to think that Simon isn’t really trying to teach him. Jinx however is not aware that he has magical capabilities. He has synesthesia in that he can see people’s emotions (very cool). Also, he is deeply connected to the Urwald and can understand the trees by listening to their roots (awesomely cool). Unfortunately, his synesthesia was taken away when Simon “placed him in a bottle.” Furious that Simon worked magic on him, Jinx leaves and while wandering in the Urwald, he bumps into two kids, Reven and Elfwyn, who both have fairytale-like curses placed on them. They quickly become friends.
Soon they agree that they should visit the Bonemaster, an evil wizard and Simon’s former mentor and current arch-nemesis to have their various curses removed: Jinx can’t see people’s emotions anymore; Reven can’t say who he is; and Elfwyn must obey all direct orders. Needless to say, they are taken captive by the Bonemaster and Simon, along with Elfwyn’s grandmother, the witch called Dame Glammer, must rescue them.
I enjoyed reading Jinx but it was not as great a story as I thought it would be. What threw me off was when Jinx runs off and meets Reven and Elfwyn. It seemed that I suddenly began reading a different story. The first half of the novel was about Jinx finally finding a home, a place where he was safe and could live in comfort. The pace here was slow to fit the temperament of Jinx’s life at the time. I began to think that would be all there was to the story or that it might lead to Jinx finding a family (with Simon and Sophie).
But suddenly it changed. Jinx meets Reven and Elfwyn and off the story went on an adventure, which I did not expect. I enjoyed reading of the adventure but it seems separate from the first part of the book. This, along with the seeming insignificance of Sophie (I just don’t see the point of including her in the story), dulled my experience of the book.
Still, Jinx was an okay read and is one I would recommend. The ending gave the impression that another book might follow. If so, I look forward to it.
Quotes from the book:
“But if you spent all your time being protected, you never got to find out anything new.”
“Of course you can’t if you think you can’t,” said Simon. \ “I know I can’t.” \ “Bah. Even worse.”
“Hard to notice what you don’t believe in.”
“Catching things is easy. You just have to be where they are when they land.”
“Many things in life are difficult,” said Reven, choosing his words carefully. “But to those who persevere, all things are possible.” \ “Sometimes people are happier if they don’t persevere,” said Elfwyn. \ “That may be true, my lady.”
- Review of Jinx, by Sage Blackwood (sonderbooks.com)