The Vengekeep Prophecies
Vangekeep Prophecies
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Brian Farrey, illus. by Brett Helquist
ISBN 9780062049285
Harper/HarperCollins, 2012.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: adventure brian-farrey community family friendship literacy magic vengekeep-prophecies

The Vengekeep Prophecies
by Brian Farrey, illus. by Brett Helquist

A family of thieves creates a con so clever it backfires in Farrey's (With or Without You) page-turning middle-grade adventure with a hint of magic.

In medieval-like Vengekeep, the Grimjinx family has prowled the streets and pickpocketed the rich for generations. The whole family makes sure the top brass sees them all at the annual Festival of the Twins--where the prophetic tapestry that lays out the year ahead is unveiled. Then 12-year-old Jaxter and his father slip off to rob the town's magistrate of his prized flute. But while most Grimjinxes are gifted grifters, narrator Jaxter is a klutz. What he does possess is a skill for mixing herbs to counter magic spells. Jaxter gets them inside their victim's house, but his clumsiness causes a fire. Luckily, his mother has tampered with the tapestry, creating a scene that foretells cataclysmic events--with the Grimjinxes saving the day. When the events start to come true, though, the family looks less fortunate. Jaxter comes up with an antidote to the tapestry's magic, but must travel the Five Provinces to gather the ingredients.

At the core of this gripping quest tale is a wonderful friendship between Jaxter and his newfound friend, Callie. Together they encounter exotic beasts, double-crossing thieves and rogue mages. Jaxter's family never loses faith in him, including his grandmother, who tells him, "The things you learn in books will outshine all of us someday." Farrey creates a complete tale, but readers will be happy to know that two more are planned.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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