“This great adventure story draws the reader into its magical, dangerous world in a way that reminded me of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Magic here is many-layered and both good and bad; it is used by some, banned by others, and feared by the rest. The characters, too, are complex and multidimensional. There are no clear heroes, and some villains are more villainous than others. Blackwood has barely scratched the surface of the world that he has created, and there should be many more adventures ahead for Jinx and his friends. I look forward to them impatiently.”
— Julie A. Baker, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA
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 Magnus.
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's safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx's curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon's unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trodden paths.
But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest. And soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.
Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers that life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.
[Blackwood] puts her central three [characters] through a string of suspenseful, scary situations before delivering a properly balanced closing set of resolutions, revelations and road signs to future episodes.
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)