Title: The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2)
Author: Django Wexler
2015 – KidLit – Fantasy
The Story: Alice yearns to know what happened to her father, but Master Geryon’s promises are vague and fruitless. So when she and several other apprentices are sent into another Reader’s domain to investigate his death and apprehend his apprentice Jacob, she uses the opportunity to search for more information on her father.
The Opening Line: The swamp was hot, moist, and silent.
Thoughts: I didn’t want to go back and reread the first book due to a myriad of other reading obligations and time constraints, so it took a while for me to acclimate to the story and remember all the little details about the universe. Once I did, though, the book was enjoyable. I would even dare to venture that this one is better than the first. Alice is more confident and secure in her abilities, which made the action scenes even more fun to read, and the plot felt more solid to me. The original book spent a lot of time explaining Alice’s abilities and had her jumping in and out of books to fight and subdue the monsters inside. In The Mad Apprentice, she is joining up with other apprentices for a longer mission fraught with danger.
Do I want/will I read a third entry? Sure. This isn’t the best children’s fantasy series I’ve ever read, but it is solid, fun, and fresh. Wexler has created an imaginative story that brings books to life (literally) and explores deeper topics as well. These would be great read-aloud books for older children.