The Vengekeep Prophecies
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The Vengekeep Prophecies (The Vengekeep Prophecies #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  302 ratings  ·  98 reviews
“You can’t convict what you can’t confirm.” That’s the motto of 12-year-old Jaxter Grimjinx and his infamous family of thieves. And while Jaxter may not have his father’s burglary prowess, his mother’s forgery skills, or his little sister’s mastery of sleight-of-hand, his book-fed knowledge of non-magical solutions to magical problems makes him invaluable to the family’s h...more
Hardcover, 397 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by HarperCollins
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,272)
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Barb Middleton
Generations of klutzes run in my family. Grandma is infamous for throwing chicken grease into the furnace and causing an explosion that fried off her eyebrows, eyelashes, and bangs. I am not sure my infamy. Maybe when I set 16 boxes of cereal on fire preheating the oven as a teenager (mom quit storing them in there after that incident). Or maybe when I melted the microwave with a stove-top grease fire. Or maybe when I torched the bamboo steamer basket while making Chinese dumplings. In this book...more
Let's talk lazy fantasy writing. It exists. It's out there. And when you find yourself reading some 30+ middle grade fantasies in a given year there are certain tropes and themes that appear so often they wear a rut in your frontal lobe. Most of them are innocuous enough, but there's one that really sets fire to my dander; prophecies. Ugh. I cannot STAND prophecies. Essentially they're just a way for the author to provide foreshadowing in as annoying a way as possible. Further points are detract...more
May 08, 2013 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fantasy fans
This was loads of fun to read! It has been awhile since I've read a book with two kids who go on a journey by themselves to save their town with the grownups' approval. I can't think of another family to compare the Grimjinx family to other than the family of Dido created by Joan Aiken in Black Hearts in Battersea, with several sequels, written quite a long time ago. This is a family that blithely enjoys the family profession of theft. At least until that enjoyment gets them into big trouble. It...more
This was an adorable middle-school book. Half the time, it turns out, the characters were lying their [insert body part here] off, but that's what was fun; trying to guess truth from lies. Because, of course, the family is a whole hoard of thieves.

Jaxter Grimjinx is the one failure of the Grimjinx clan. While the others are all awesome with sleight of hand, forgery, burglary, and lotsa other prowess, he's stuck with being good with plants. Yay. For the most current plan, they've switched out the...more
Benji Martin
I have an international student who always asks me "Is this book fun?" when interested in a title. I always think it's so funny, that she doesn't ask "Is this book good?" or "something like that. It's kind of interesting. There are lots of books I would consider "good" or "moving", but not necessarily "fun" This is one of those that that I would consider "fun" though. I had a good time reading it. I didn't really connect with the characters on a deep level. Farrey could have killed them all off,...more
Sepideh Sahebsara
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Jaxter was born to steal. Seriously. His family is good at it and he’s learned from the best. The Grimjinx family knows how to swindle, forge, heist, pickpocket and burgle. It’s their way.

But just because you are BORN to steal, just because you have been taught HOW, doesn’t mean you are GOOD at it. Jaxter has butterfingers. He’s clumsy. Frankly, he’s not that interested. What he DOES know though, is plants. Yes, plants, but not just ANY plants, magic-resistant plants. In the world he lives in, k...more
Carrie Gelson
I read this aloud to my children and it was often difficult to put it down and enforce bedtime. Gripping, full of adventure, magic and the perfect blend of humour and fantasy to keep both of my eleven year old listeners captivated. This is really well done fantasy. It is fresh with many unexpected twists and turns. We loved the main character - a mediocre (at best) thief from a long line of thieving tricksters, the Grimjinxes, Jaxter Grimjinx has heart and morals that one might not have expected...more
May 28, 2013 June rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: adventure and fantasy readers
Recommended to June by: Joan
The Grimjinx family are unapologetic thieves. However, they get in over their heads when they accidentally do a forgery on fateskin and picture themselves as the town's saviors.

A story of Jaxter Grimjinx and his friend, Callie, go on a journey to save their town...

Interesting to have the main boy character be a klutz and intellectual.
Feb 10, 2014 Liz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
The story: The Grimjinx family features a noted line of thieves, con men, and forgers. But their best forgery and smoothest con turns out to be a disaster for the family: a tapestry, woven by Allia Grimjinx herself, foretells a series of disasters that will befall their hometown. It also shows the Grimjinx family as the only ones who can keep the bad things from happening--and because of this, the family is proclaimed the saviors of Vengekeep. But imagine their horror when the series of grim pro...more
Maeve Gilbert
The Vengekeep Prophecies follows the story of Jaxter Grimjinx, a young boy from a family of thieves that no one in the town can seem to prove that they committed any crimes. However, Jaxter has a problem. He's super clumsy. And this is not so great when you're trying to break into one of the town official's houses. And set it on fire. By accident, of course. But when a mysterious message is unveiled in the town's annual prophecy tapestries saying that the Grimjinx family will save Vengekeep, the...more
I thought this was a really fun MG. Also, something different from the YA mind numbing, bang my head against a wall books I'd been getting stuck reading.

Oct 19, 2012 Jessica marked it as to-read
I just got this book today in the mail after winning it on Goodreads... Can't wait to dig in!
What a rollicking read for the 4-6th fantasy grader. Lots of action, strong characters, interesting premise (a clumsy child-thief who can concoct "anti-magic" using herbs and must help destroy a prophecy that his family helped create). Just the right amount of snarkiness for this age group, too. The only thing that didn't work for me was that the ending didn't really feel like an emotional climax, just another episode, despite concluding the plot. Still, for those children who want a well-writte...more
Wow, Wow, Wow!! This book literally had me laughing out loud at the characters and their antics. I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters and thought the adventure was well told and interesting. I feel the characters were perfectly matched to a juvenile audience, for example they figured things out at a perfect speed and didn't make me want to slam the book for being slow. This will definitely be on my highly recommended book list from now on! I am greatly looking forward to spending more time in...more
Betsy Israelson
When can I read the next one?
The Vengekeep Prophecies is the first in a series about a boy named Jaxter who is from an infamous family of thieves. When his parents swap a prophetic tapestry for a fake, they find the prophecies starting to come true. Suddenly, the family is asked to save their town from monsters and natural disasters. The problem is a lot of the prophecies they faked are really dangerous. The worst part, they are stuck in town until all of them come true. Jaxter is able to leave and must head on a quest to...more
The Vengekeep Prophecies has been sitting in my pile for nearly a year. I got it just as the school started and there it sat waiting to be read. I’m glad it was patient. Reading it made me think about the idea of choosing between what you should do and what you want to do. It led me to think about the importance of finding a way to contribute by following your passion and knowing what you are good at. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, pick it up and give it a try.

Vengekeep is the name...more
"Fate is a lazy man's excuse for avoiding curiosity."

Jaxter Grimjinx comes from a long line of thieves. And though he does his best to fit in with his family, he's really just "too clumsy to be a thief." In fact, on his first solo burglary attempt, he sets the house on fire. But Jaxter has something else: a talent for beating magic with non-magical means. And he's going to need it. What starts out as a con, a forged tapestry prophecy making the Grimjinx's the saviors of Vengekeep, soon begins to...more
This was a fun little read about a boy named Jaxter, who was born into a family of thieves. After getting caught red handed trying to steal from one of the more prominent members of town, his family pulls a con that has big consequences for the whole town. Jaxter, who has other talents with plants and isn't really showing signs of being a thief like the rest of his family, comes up with a plan to save the town. On the journey, he doesn't realize that he's also saving himself.

I liked the plot, I...more
Amy Musser
A member of the most legendary thieving family in all the Five Provinces, 12 year old Jaxter Grimjinx is pretty sure he’s an embarrassment to the entire family. They’ve never said anything, but it would be hard to miss Jaxter’s accident prone clumsiness. Bangers!, he’s so horrible at picking locks that his little sister can pick a lock faster than he can! What he really loves to do is work with plants to create magical substances, but he knows this won’t really help him become a better thief. Or...more
I picked this book up for one reason - Brett Helquist did the cover illustration. But then I read the cover copy and wanted to read it even more. This was a really great book. The worldbuilding was so matter of fact and permeated everything that you felt like you'd been dropped into this new world and it didn't matter that you didn't know what every creature and plant that was mentioned was - it just made you feel like this was a real place. Perfectly done.

Jaxter Grimjinx comes from an illustrio...more
Tim Loge
Gr 4 - 8
Thieves and alchemy weave together a fine tapestry of a tale. It’s a rare event for the authorities of the town-state of Vengekeep to prove that a member of the Grimjinx family was actually a thief—they’re just that good. Throughout the town and the neighboring lands the family has a reputation, fame really, for being incredibly skilled swindlers. After Ma and Da pull off their biggest con ever, they realize too
late, that they themselves had been tricked, leaving their town and every mem...more
Jaxter Grimjinx is not a very good thief. In fact, he accidentally sets fire to the house he's supposed to be robbing with his Da. Jaxter definitely is no burglar who can slip in and out of a house, leaving it a little poorer with no evidence left behind, like his Da. Neither is he like his Ma, who can create master forgeries that often take years to be discovered. And he is too clumsy to be like his sister, who can pick a pocket with fingers as light as the wind itself. Jaxter's family is full...more
Great fantasy/adventure story for ages 8-12ish. Jaxter is a great main character, and Callie an equally wonderful sidekick. I lived the Grimjinx family. The adventure is fast-paced, never a dull moment, but Jaxter is a thoughtful person trying to figure out his place in the world, so there's more here than "just" adventure. The fantasy world is well done, but the characters remain believable and relatable.

The fantasy world is well done, full of things that will make for a great series. Aside fr...more
When I saw this book at the library, I immediately grabbed it because it was illustrated by Brett Helquist (yes, I judge books by their covers). I have always associated his art with Lemony Snicket so I had really high expectations for this book. I was let down a little bit, but the book was good in its own way.

I liked all the names, like Grimjinx, and the proverbs at the beginning of each chapter. My favorite was the last one about fate being the lazy man's excuse to avoid curiosity. The world...more
A very fun read, this. Witty, clever, detailed, imaginative--all the right elements for a good read are present. I thought the whole concept of an "accidental" prophecy was both unexpected and hilarious. There are some predictable moments here and there, but on the whole, I enjoyed the journey very much. I don't think kids will find it predictable in the least, and, indeed, the details themselves are (sometimes wildly) original. This is a great choice for both precocious readers who are a little...more
Jaxter Grimjinx and his world is really interesting to me, and I liked his narrating voice. I would probably put this at 3 1/2 stars instead of 4 full, just because of some issues that come with having the main characters be thieves. I liked Jaxter's arc and even though I had some issues with his family, they did make me laugh. Not bad at all.
Kim McGee
Clever spin on a family of pickpockets and thieves ala Oliver Twist with a bit of fantasy tossed in for good measure
The Grimjinx family has a history of outsmarting, outpickpocketing and outwitting the local constable even though the whole village is aware of the family business. When mom accidentally weaves a tapestry that predicts the Grimjinx family will save the village from the doom of the Vengekeep Prophecy it is up to them to fix the problem, save the village and stay alive. Jaxter and hi...more
The Vengekeep Prophecies follows the adventures of Jaxter Grimjinx, a member of the Grimjinx family who for generations earned the reputation of the luckiest, brilliant thieves. Because 12-year-old Jaxter is clumsy, on his first theft, he sets the Castellan's house on fire thus landing his family in the gaol. When his mother uses her forging skills to change "the Tapestry" predicting the year's future, their luck goes awry. The town expects the Grimjinx family to save Vengekeep from the deadly d...more
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Brian Farrey is the author of WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, a 2012 Stonewall Honor Book and winner of the 2012 Minnesota Book Award for Young People's Literature. His forthcoming middle grade fantasy, THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES, will be released in October 2012. He lives in St. Paul with his husband.

More about Brian Farrey...
With or Without You The Shadowhand Covenant The Grimjinx Rebellion

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“(Da) "Sorry, Son, what was that? I was too busy ignoring you."
(Later) "Sorry, Son, I missed that," Ma said. "Ignoring you can be a full-time job.”
“Fate is a lazy man’s excuse for avoiding curiosity.” 1 likes
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