Book Review: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen
Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows 
by J.M. Bergen

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Thirteen-year-old Thomas is sure that magic is real, and he goes searching for proof in every dusty old bookstore he can find. One day, a mysterious bookshop owner lets Thomas borrow the magical Book of Sorrows, and Thomas discovers a secret family history and a world of magic and myth that takes him on a dangerous adventure.

I enjoyed this book so much! The magic system is marvelous, the plot is brilliant, and the characters are deep and endearing.
The absolute best thing about this book is the characters and their relationships with one another.
I love Thomas’ relationship with his mother, Susan. They are affectionate and silly sometimes, like this adorable tiny family. I love the trust they share, and the way they joke around and enjoy being together as a family.

I love Thomas’ relationship with his best friend, Enrique. They tease each other, and their banter is priceless! I feel like they are real people, because there are so many great details about their friendship.

I loved the fascinating characters that Thomas meets along his journey. They are all so memorable and unique, with mysterious backstories and secrets. I was intrigued by every new person that Thomas encounters, and desperate to know more about them.

The plot had a few problems in the beginning. The whole first half of the book could have been much shorter. Not much happens at first, and the same situation drags on for way too long. Some of the scenes are recycled again and again.
The mysterious lady confronts Thomas on the street two or three times. Why was that necessary? Why not just once? She doesn’t say anything particularly new the second or third times. I got it the first time.

The scene where the ominous dark van follows Thomas down the street happened at least ten times. Okay okay, I get it. There’s a van with creepy people following him. I don’t need to see the van in every other chapter for 150 pages.

The scene with the bullied kid in the bus is repeated three or four times. Why? Why wasn’t once sufficient? Why couldn’t that whole bullying situation be taken care of in ONE scene? I don’t need to see it three times to get the point.

And there is a lot of going out to eat, and sitting in class, and eating dinner, and going to bed, and waking up, and having breakfast, and sitting in class, and riding the bus, and going to a party, and playing a game of chess, and reading a comic, and hanging at the beach, and playing a game of basketball, and eating dinner, and going to bed, etc… Ugh. I understand that it’s important to get an idea of Thomas’ daily life before magic changes everything, but really…. it was overdone and dragged out. If he had just gone to class once, maybe twice, or had dinner with his mother once or twice, that would be fine. But this was complete overkill in the beginning.

The first 150 pages could have been condensed to 50 pages, because it’s all build-up, and at long last around page 165, the action finally starts. The story structure needs some help at the beginning, but just stick with it, because then it gets GOOD!

The action in the middle and end of the book blew me away! I mean, the plot gets moving and never stops! It’s mystic power, and kidnapping, and stolen crystals, and magic training, and impossible illusions, and betrayal, and surprises, and crazy situations until the very last chapter. I enjoyed the story so much, and I was on the edge of my seat!

Overall, I loved this book, and can’t wait to read more from this series! All that set-up in the beginning slowed the story down, but once it got moving again, I really enjoyed it! It’s totally worth it to slog through the beginning.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher/ author in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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