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(Jinx #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,201 ratings  ·  610 reviews
In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus.

Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by HarperCollins
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Beth Kakuma-Depew While this books has some dark aspects, there's nothing that drastic that happens to a named loved character.
Rachel I LOVE the edge chronicles and am always on the lookout for books like them! I just brought this series so ill let you know how it compares.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,201 ratings  ·  610 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fantasy
This was wonderful. There's a sparseness to the prose that somehow brings the Urwald to life. I found it kind of inspiring. Things there are bleak and terrible, but there's magic too, in the trees. Jinx is a super adorable character who goes through hell but somehow ends up as a sweetheart.

There was some character drama in the middle that felt like forced plotting to me. Luckily, things moved on quickly and became a fresh quest.

Looking forward to seeing where the series goes next!
Margaret Chind
Absolutely recommended! Dare I say it? But I would recommend this to a similar crowd as to those that enjoyed Harry Potter with a trio of friends and a bit of magic. But it's an entirely different story with unique personalities unlike any I've ever read and yet it makes me want to go back for more Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes as well. Jinx, himself is an interesting boy with a bit of mystery about him. He's an orphan in bitter circumstances that leads off on an expected adventure.

Rebecca McNutt
From this book's reviews I was thinking it would be a rip-off of Harry Potter, but it definitely isn't. While it would definitely appeal to fans of Harry Potter and films such as Howl's Moving Castle and The Last Unicorn, Jinx: The Wizard's Apprentice stands out as unique with its captivating characters, elements of friendship and its magical world-building. The Urwald is a creepy and unsettling place, and Jinx has the fate of being stuck with a cruel stepfather who tries to abandon him there, b ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
JINX is good. JINX is really, really good. JINX is an example of everything middle grade fantasy can be, one of those books that will appeal to both parents and their children, as well as other people who just want a good book with curses and enchanted forests and plucky orphans.

Jinx is raised by the wizard Simon after his stepparents attempt to abandon him in the forest. You're safe as long as you stay on the path in the Urwald, but even then it's not an easy place to survive. It's easier if yo
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
** I wish every book written for Middle-graders was this good**

What a delightful book. The story is just great and the characters are well developed for middle-grade fiction (telling you enough without going on and on), and the voice that the author (Sage Blackwood) has chosen is absolutely wonderful; by which I mean that the story is told with a crisp 'British-style' humor.

The story revolves about Jinx. He has the fortune (or misfortune) to be born in the Urwald. It's the type of place where li
April Franklin
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow. It's hard to even get across how much I loved this book. It was a perfect mix of powerful magic spells, peculiar wizards and witches, interesting realms and a likable character at the center of it all - that concoction is almost guaranteed to be a favorite of mine if it's well written, and this was. It was very much like reading something by Diana Wynne Jones, who I utterly and completely adore. It's also well worth a read for any fantasy fan or any fan of excellent middle grade books. It w ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diana Wynne Jones fans
This was an incredibly charming and clever middle-grade novel that is very reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones (my highest compliment!) and Patricia Wrede, but it has a flavor all its own. I loved Jinx, the young protagonist of this book, who sees feelings as colors and grows up as a wizard's apprentice in a dark, dark forest. I also loved Simon, the wizard, who manages to be both a flawed and interesting adult, and Jinx's friends, who join Jinx on his journey to the castle of the appropriately nam ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Library copy

Jinx is living with stepparents in a clearing near the treacherous forest of Urwald. To step off the path there is to invite death, so when his stepfather takes him into the woods and has him sit off the path and wait, Jinx knows this is not a good thing. Luckily, the wizard Simon happens upon them, and when trolls come out of the woods, he cloaks himself and Jinx so they are not carried off. His stepfather is not so lucky. Grudgingly, Simon takes the boy home and puts him to work cl
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED Jinx. I was hooked in the first paragraph:

"In the Urwald you grow up fast or not at all. By the time Jinx was six he had learned to live quietly and carefully, squeezed into the spaces left by other people, even though the hut he lived in with his stepparents actually belonged to him. He had inherited it after his father died of werewolves and his mother was carried off by elves."

Hold onto your hats! What follows is his stepfather trying to abandon him to die off the path, and being take
Monica Edinger
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great fun. Interesting world, delightful characters, and intriguing plot. More than once thought of Diana Wynne Jones; for example, wizard Simon's crankiness had a tinge of Howl. There were a number of throwaway lines in the style of Princess Bride. All in all very entertaining; I look forward to the next one.
Barb Middleton
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Chinese narrator's words emitting from the television are nonsensical to my thick ears until I hear "Niu Rou." This means "beef" in Mandarin but my western brain hears the Roman emperor's name, "Nero." The sound comes from the back of the throat and whenever I try to pronounce it I either elicit a laugh or quirked brow. Such is my language life. Not so for Jinx where learning languages is like breathing in and breathing out. He's fluent in months and has taught himself six languages in about ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Jinx is an interesting little tale.

One thing I liked about it was how it sort of evoked various different folk and fairy tales. Hansel & Gretel is evoked twice - once by step-parents leading their children into the forest to abandon then, and then a more direct reference to gingerbread houses. Ellwyn's red hood and her travelling through the forest to get to her grandmother obviously evokes Red Riding Hood. The witches travelling by butter-churn reminded me of Baba Yaga and her mortar and pestle
Kat Heckenbach
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is MG fiction. Fun, well-written, fast-pasted without skimping on story and character development. The writing voice really captured me as well. Told with a fairy tale flavor, it had me smiling in so many places. There are dark bits, of course, as any good fairy tale has, but they're not told in gruesome detail.

The story world has a lot of familiar tropes--witches, wizards, werewolves, etc.--but all handled in unique ways. The magic system is really cool, as are Jinx's particular abilities.
So, so good! I'll be honest that I wasn't really expecting much from this one. Even with all the five star ratings, I just kind of assumed it would be another ho-hum middle-grade fantasy novel with all the usual characters and plot points. I figured it would be kind of fun, but that's it. But I got totally sucked in almost immediatey and am missing it now that I'm finished!

I'm not even sure I can really point to what exactly won me over so completely. Possibly it's that the characters are so da
Molly Ringle
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is really charming! But with just enough death-magic to give it depth. The tone is very like Howl's Moving Castle, what with the banter between characters (Blackwood is especially good at funny dialogue), and the often-whimsical rules or customs of the Urwald. And like that series, it's enjoyable for anyone from 12-ish on up, I would say. As someone who loves trees, I especially appreciated the deep dark forest as a setting and a source of important magic (if also danger). And for what it's ...more
Jeff Raymond
I read this some time ago and really, really didn't care much for it at all. The content of the book (especially the violence) doesn't match up with the intended age group, but more importantly, I found the book to be an an absolute slog to complete. The amount of effort it took me to finish this book is rather shocking considering, and it really left a lot to be desired.

This book does seem to be popular for a number of readers, but, as for me, I can't even come close to recommending this. Reall
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Review on A Write to Review -

This is a refreshing take on a fantasy novel with an intriguing plot and unique world.

Jinx has a bit of mystery surrounding him with a wonderfully fresh personality on an epic adventure. As Jinx struggles through his adventures he, along with the reader, learns important lessons along the way. The concept of overcoming ones fear was very intriguing for me and I enjoyed how it was handled in the book.

Note: I won this book fro
DNF @24%

I couldn't handle the sad part.
Kat (Lost in Neverland)

Starts out strong, with strong characters and concepts, but slowly deteriorates into a boring, uneventful mess with no conclusion.
Amy Forrester
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Urwald is the only place Jinx has ever known. Dark and mysterious, the tall trees of the Urwald are home to menacing werewolves, werebears and trolls, devious witches, and sinister wizards. Even as a young boy, Jinx knows about the Truce of the Path: You are protected as long as you remain on the path. But one day his cruel stepfather takes Jinx off the path, intending to leave him to fend for himself. Just as Jinx is about to give up hope he’s saved by Simon, a cranky, yellow-eyed wizard. A ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jinx is an entertaining twist of a coming-of-age fairy tale. There are wizards and witches and ogres and distant kings and curses and magic. There are even hints of some well-known fairy tales mixed in, just to add a bit of familiar spice.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Jinx was the idea that you should never stop questioning those around you--even those you trust, even those in power. Their truths may not be the truths you know and understand, and part of growing up is exploring the wor
Destinee Sutton
In the style of Diana Wynn-Jones and J.K. Rowling, there's a lot of moral ambiguity in this fantasy, buoyed by great characters and sly humor. The plot is satisfyingly wrapped up, but Jinx himself remains a bit of a mystery at the end, so we can expect sequels. Here's how I'd book talk it:

After being abandoned in the Urwald forest by his uncaring stepfather, Jinx is adopted by a cranky wizard named Simon. As he grows up in the wizard's strange home, he learns some magic and makes friends with t
ijeoma Agbaje
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it

This book was actually quite good. i'm going to be honest, i didnt think it would be. i thought i'd be reading a harmless children's book when i started, i mean look at how cute and unsuspecting the book cover is, boy was i wrong. It felt like it wanted to be a children's book but then at some points the author was like screw that "i'm going to put in this disturbing scence, lets see how the parents explain this"and then the author goes again like "oh yeah its a kid's book" on and on it goes li

Refreshing new take on fantasy. New idea, new story, and really well done. Kinda like Angie Sage and "Septimus Heap" this will delight your 8-12 year old, your 14 year old and even the adults. Jinx lives in a world of magic and darkness. Go off of the path and bad things happen, or do they? This has so much potential for a really good trilogy that I do look forward to more about Jinx and his pals.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: libs-642
I mostly dragged myself through this book and I tried to figure out why. The writing style seemed more declarative than descriptive. There were settings (a mysterious woods, a castle of bones) and characters (wizards, witches, and a protagonist with unusual powers) that begged for detailed descriptions but didn't deliver. The plot dragged until near the end. Other readers may enjoy this but it wasn't for me. I like my fantasies to be thick with description.
One Sentence Review: Rather pleasant, this jaunt into a new fantasy world reads most smoothly when our hero is feeling the most incensed (and fortunately there are plenty of opportunities for THAT to occur).
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
What a fabulous surprise this was. I seem to be comparing books to earlier works this weekend, so I'll say that contrary to the cover blurb, this book didn't remind me of Septimus Heap - it reminded me of Howl's Moving Castle. In a really good way.
Tommy Hancock
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Not bad, not great. An enjoyable, if not remarkable young fantasy book. It might be really good as a stepping stone for younger readers. Maybe an in between chapter books and middle grade.

I don't regret reading it, but doubt that I'll continue the series.
Jannah (Cloud Child)

Damn I need to read the sequel asap. Even though tis late.

Lovely little fantasy which is aimed at younger/middle grade readers therefore a little less detailed than I would like in some ways though maybe that is intentionally the style the author was going for. Has a subtle humor and a fun new world with distinct characters. There is also a lot of mild poking at classic fairy tale tropes.

Jinx is an orphan apparently under a curse, and when his stepparents (its complicated) conceive his sis
Rachel Neumeier
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
JINX and JINX’S MAGIC are, like Diana Wynne Jones, the kind of MG that anybody can enjoy.

For the same reasons, too: the characterization, worldbuilding and actual writing are all top-notch, and as icing on the cake, there’s a good bit of biting commentary on what I hesitate to call the human condition because doesn’t that sound stuffy, but still.

“What it [the Urwald, the enchanted forest] isn’t, good Jinx, is a nation. And that means it’s waiting to be taken over by anyone clever enough to try.”
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Henrico Youth Boo...: Jinx by Sage Blackwood 3 15 Nov 13, 2013 05:01PM  
Sequel 3 34 May 30, 2013 05:19PM  

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“Hm. Didn’t you use to be a lot smaller?”

“Yes,” said Jinx. “Because I used to be six.”
“...if you spent all your time being protected, you never got to find out anything new.” 17 likes
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