Twelve-year-old Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Soon a mysterious trio arrives to take him away: the explorer Umber, the shy archer Sophie, and Oates, whose strength and honesty are both brutal. Hap and his new acquaintances narrowly escape the cavernous underworld and make their way to Lord Umber's bustling jewel of a ...more
I came across this book in my quest for fantasy stories my 12 year old son might enjoy. I think it would be perfect for that age group but I also think most adults who enjoy fantasy would like this story. Right from the beginning there is danger and adventure and all sorts of unusual magical characters.
I found enough of a hook in the story about Lord Umber, to make me want to read more about this world and find out if he ever gets home.
Lord Umber is a collector of mysteries, preferably magical ones, ...more
Fourth read date: July 7th, 2012
Fifth read date: October 16th, 2013
Sixth read date: December 3rd, 2015
Seventh read date: July 29th, 2017
I don't know what I find so enchanting and adoration-worthy about this book. I really don't. The prose is crisp and simple, perfectly suited to the story, but not exceptional. The characters are lovely, beautifully written, but no more so than other characters in oth ...more
The characters, who all seem painfully cliché at first, are relatively well-developed and interesting. The villain was one-dimensional, but he served hi ...more
Update: I finished the book! What I loved about this book was the mystery- who is Happenstance? That was utterly fascinating! I loved the distinct characters as well. Nothing turns me off more than undistinct characters who you can only tell apart by their names. So, I loved the colorful characters, Umber and Oates and so on. My only ...more
This a creative fantasy and entertaining read. Its main weakn ...more
Travel the path of Hap (Happenstance) as he discovers who he is, where he is and why he is. Absolutely delightful mid-sized reading.
A boy named Hap wakes up in a dark room with no memory and absolutely no idea where or who he is. Three people find him in that dark room (which turns out to be an underground maze of some forgotten city) and realize that they had been sent to find him. Lord Umber, a mysterious inventor, brings Hap along with his group back to Kurahaven, the central city of this world. Hap quickly realizes that he is not normal. His eyes are an unusual color and give him night vision, and he can jump extremely h ...more
Umber: He is part the bumbling professor, part Pollyanna and part brooding Mr. Darcy. Can you even imagine a person with such diverse characteristics? I wouldn't have thought it possible, but Catanese pulls it off - and it's even logical.
Oates: He is burdened to always tell the truth, though as Umber explains, it doesn't mean he is ...more
Hey, have you heard this one before? -- A boy with no memory of his past joins a quirky band of wanderers and has exotic adventures while trying to find out more about his own history. Some world saving may be involved.
Well, of course you have. Nothing new here, one initially suspects. But one, (and stop referring to yourself as "one"), would be wrong. This is the fantasy adventure different, and even some pretty hoary old clichés feel fresh a ...more
A very fun romp through a magical world of wonders made even more interesting by Umbers hints at another world he once called home with it's own peculiar brand of magic, technology. Yes, for the fans of DWJ's alternate realities, parallel worlds, The Books of Umber may be somewhat obvious, however, they do h...more
A crisp style, fast pacing, interesting characters and vivid descriptions have made Catanese a favorite with everyone from reluctant readers to teachers to adults seeking a thrilling escape. His books ...more
Other books in the series
"I know-isn't it wonderful to learn something new?" Umber laughed.”