A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods.
The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.
Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.
To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.
But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.
- Title: The Accidental Apprentice
- Author: Amanda Foody
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
- Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Children’s Literature
- Targeted Age Range: Children, Middle grade
- Trigger Warnings: Parental death, death mention, minor violence
- Rating: ★★★★★
Thanks so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Margaret K. McElderry Books for this opportunity!
It’s no secret that I love Amanda Foody’s books. In fact, The Shadow Game is one of my favourite book series. She just has a way of writing that is incredibly compelling, and lovely to read. So when she announced she was writing a new, middle-grade fantasy series, I knew I had to read it! Despite not being the target audience, I love middle-grade books. They’re so much fun, and they often contain so many wonderful messages that even adults can learn from. They’re drama-free, oftentimes magic-filled stories that remind me of childhood.
The Accidental Apprentice follows our protagonist Barclay, a humble mushroom farming apprentice who wants nothing more than to be a mushroom farmer himself. Orphaned just a few years prior, he wants to make his parents proud. But something goes wrong one day in the Woods, and Barclay is soon thrust into a world of magic, beasts and a gruelling competition. The Accidental Apprentice has so many fun elements in it, it’s hard to pick a favourite.
Barclay is an endearing protagonist. He’s sweet and stubborn and learning more about the world as he goes through it. Barclay is a curious and stubborn eleven-year-old, so much so that it reminded me of myself at that age! He’s determined to prove himself to others, and get what he wants, all while making friends along the way. He was a lovely protagonist to read about, and I know kids will love him as well! Alongside Barclay is Viola, an adventurous young girl who is striving to be the best Lore Keeper she can be. With her trusty dragon sidekick, Mitzi, she is a wonderful addition to the novel, and provides a lot of the comic relief to the story. She’s headstrong, ambitious and selfless, someone I know kids will love reading about!
The world building is really where this book excels. In just one book, Amanda Foody has created a world that feels almost endless. Having carefully plotted and placed tiny bits of details, Foody has created a world that seems so easy to expand in future books. I’m unsure of how many books she intends to write, but I know each of them will continue to add to this already wonderful world. As well as the world building, this book left me wishing for an animal sidekick. Viola’s dragon, Mitzi, was the most charming little character, and while it didn’t have dialogue, its presence was felt throughout the book. I loved watching Barclay slowly begin to love his Lufthund (sorta like a wolf, if we want to compare it to a real life animal), and their friendship and trust for one another blossom.
I truly think this is going to be an adventure children and adults alike enjoy. It’s fun, adventurous and full of charming characters. Amanda Foody has successfully created a world that will be an instant hit, and I would love to see it adapted for screen one day. I absolutely cannot wait to see where she takes this story, and I eagerly wait for book two.
Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After a double life as an accountant preparing taxes for multinational corporations, she now spends her free time brewing and fermenting foods much more easily obtained at her local grocery store. She lives in Boston, MA with a hoard of books guarded by the most vicious of feline companions, Jelly Bean.
She is the author of THE SHADOW GAME series and more. Her middle grade debut, WILDERLORE: THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and ALL OF US VILLAINS, co-written with Christine Lynn Herman, releases in November 9, 2021.