The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Expected publication: March 1st 2017
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Children’s Fiction
* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions, are as always, my own.*
Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins knows there is magic at work that she can’t yet understand. Her mother has been taken by witches and turned into a bird. Nell must journey to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places — the frightening realm where Nightmares resides. There she must break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare.
Nell Perkins is a 12 years old girl living a relatively normal life with her mother and brother. But normal is not a word that would describe Nell or the little town of Mist Falls. Over the years people have been disappearing, and they are mainly women. Until one day, when an odd purple cloud appears in the air, and gets her mother.
Suddenly, Nell and her brothers have no other choice but to embark on a dangerous journey to the Wicked Places to get their mother back. But the journey will be far from easy.
I normally don’t read much middle grade anymore and I can’t say I was in the mood for it. But because it’s an ARC that it’s almost coming out, I decided to pick it up anyway. Also, the fact that I couldn’t read it in my kindle, and having to read in my computer (which I hate to do) didn’t help much for my excitement.
So, to actually have finished right now it had to be good! And it sure was! I am very pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely a very different and interesting middle grade story.
Since the very beginning, the story is extremely gripping. It has quite a slow start, but you just can’t stop reading it!
First of all, the world building was extremely imaginative, creative and purely beautiful. Dreamland is dark and scary, but at the same time its beautiful and inviting. It was really easy to visualize it, with all the detail the author gave. But a thing I really liked, is that he also gave space for our own imagination to unfold.
The story has a lot of twists and action. There’s always something happening. Something that doesn’t go according to plan, but that in some way puzzles together perfectly. To get their mother back to her human form, Nell and her brothers had to believe in themselves, even if others don’t. They had to believe that they could do anything, even if it seems impossible. For as long as you don’t give up, you will manage to succeed. It’s an important message for everyone and I thought it was very well developed throughout the book.
The characters are very well developed and really easy to connect with. Especially Nell. I really loved her! She was fantastic! And I loved how strong the bond between a mother and a daughter, is shown in the book through her. There’s some other characters popping up occasionally that are pretty fun to read about, and that made the book a bit more soft.
The writing was surprisingly good for a middle grade book. I find those often repetitive and basic. But this one was gripping and captivating! It was the type of writing you can feel, you know what I mean? The pace was great and although some times I got a bit lost, I still managed to follow the story pretty easily.
A thing I really enjoy in YA books is that you can profoundly feel the characters. But this book did an amazing job with it! You could feel their emotions so well, that sometimes it radiated through me (which is one of the thing I most like about reading).
The only thing I have to mention is that, this is pretty big for a middle grade book. It’s not that it’s repetitive, but like I mentioned before, there’s always something happening. And I feel that because of that it might not be everyones’ cup of tee.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it! I love stories with magic and darkness in them. And this one would be just perfect for Halloween!
You will get lost.
You will be scared.
You will fall.
You will flee.
You will fight.
You will learn.
And without a doubt,
You will find your way home.
Do you like middle grade?
What’s your favorite middle grade book?