A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods in this whimsical and cheeky middle grade fantasy debut—perfect for fans of Nevermoor and How to Train Your Dragon.
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 (Wilderlore, #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
This book was a lot of fun! It kinda felt like a lot of my favorite middle-grade fantasy series got together and made this book. It has adventure, fun, and a new fantastical world to explore! What could be better?
Barclay, our main character, is kinda a unicorn of a middle-grade character. Most middle-grade main characters in fantasy/adventure books crave adventure. They seek out the danger and magic that so often comes in fantasy worlds. Barclay, however, is thrust into this world without consent (hence, our reluctant hero). He has absolutely no desire to be apart of the Lore Keeper community and spends most of the book doing everything he can to leave it behind. I enjoyed this new perspective that we get to experience through him. It’s fresh, and new, and makes the plot that much more interesting.
On top of this dilemma he faces throughout the book, there is also the reason behind him needing to join the Lore Keeper community in the first place. Like any good story, the evil forces are at play and he must work with some beloved new characters to defeat them. I’m guessing that this particular conflict is going to come back stronger than ever in a later book since this is a series. I’m eager to see how this set of characters continue to battle the bad and embrace the good.
I loved the world-building in this book! There are a lot of fun and interesting creatures, including the one Barclay kinda gets tied to. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter with all of its creatures! I can’t wait to explore more of this world in general, but especially these new creatures. I hope we see more in the coming books!
Overall, I was so impressed with the world of this book and enjoyed getting to know the characters. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
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.
Her books include The Shadow Game series and more. Her middle-grade debut, Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and her next YA novel, All of Us Villains, co-authored with Christine Lynn Herman, releases on November 9, 2021.