A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
Right from the get-go it was the title of author Matthew Jobin’s The Nethergrim that had me interested in reading. It sounded interesting, foreboding and after reading over the novel’s description I was interested in finding out where it would go. A middle grade novel dealing with fantasy and a bad guy way more powerful than they could even dream of being? Sounded like a great read and luckily for me it totally was.
It’s been years since the evil Nethergrim was killed and main characters Edmund, Katherine and Tom live in a land that has been enjoying the calm since then. All seems fine but each of the children have their own problems to deal with. Edmund wants nothing more than to practice magic but his father is strictly against it and he’s falling for his best friend Katherine; Katherine wants to continue on with her tomboy-like lifestyle but is aware of hot it dishonors her family and is unfitting for a lady; Tom is a slave with a cruel master.
One night when a group of kids go missing, Edmund and his friends find themselves embarking on a quest to stop the Nethergrim and save the taken children. The Nethergrim has returned, angry and more powerful than ever. It will take all the courage within themselves to use the skills that they’ve acquired in order to save themselves and the townspeople from the Nethergrim and his unspeakable evil.
Right from the start of The Nethergrim I knew that I would be reading a novel filled with action and adventure. It begins with the story of the Nethergrim’s first adversaries; a knight named Tristan and a wizard named Vithric. After that the story jumps right into the protagonist Edmund’s life showing us how his parents disagree with his love for magic, ultimately ending with his father burning all of his spell books. From there I could see that while this story would probably most likely a hundred percent show Edmund using some crazy magic skills at some point later on in the plot—the road to that potential scene would be heart-wrenching.
The way that The Nethergrim is written definitely gave off the correct mood for a high fantasy novel. Personally I got into it really fast and loved every moment of reading. Granted I did find that the start was a bit slow but once the plot picks up it just goes. I was excited, I was afraid, I was scared of the story’s villain and all of his ‘henchmen’. For a middle grade book it didn’t feel like one whatsoever. It’s the kind of novel that I think almost anybody could get into.
As for the characters I really liked Edmund and Katherine, but I felt like Tom didn’t really do much. Edmund goes around wanting to be a wizard, Katherine’s father is a badass who helped defeat the Nethergrim the first time (though obviously he didn’t do a great job) and Tom is a slave. Bought off when he was a kid. Edmund spends most of the novel as the protagonist, pushing his companions to accompany him on his way to beat the Nethergrim. Katherine shows that even if she is a girl there’s no way a girl can’t be kick some serious butt. But I felt like through most of the novel Tom was a secondary character who was used more as a plot device than an actual character.
I would recommend the Nethergrim to readers who are looking for a fantasy-adventure novel that will keep them intrigued from start to finish, to anybody looking for a well-written middle grade novel and just to any readers who want a story that will keep them guessing and eager.