Jinx’s Fire, by Sage Blackwood, was published in 2015 by Katherine Tegen. It is the sequel to Jinx’s Magic.
Sometimes you have to step off the path to get where you’re going. In the Urwald, that could lead to being eaten. But Jinx has to do something, and fast: the forest is under attack, and its magic is fading. Three kings have claimed the Urwald’s land. Their armies are closing in on the forest’s borders. Jinx knows the Urwald belongs to no one but itself: the people, trees, and monsters who inhabit it. Can he convince all of them to work together with the wizards and witches to save their homeland? Jinx also needs to save Simon, and so must travel into the dangerous icy depths beneath the Glass Mountains until he reaches the nadir of things—a spot as perilous as it is powerful. Only if Jinx can summon enough of his magic—the bright fire within him—will he be able to Rescue Simon, defeat the Bonemaster, unite the Urwald, and fight off the invaders. He is the Urwald’s only hope.
This series continually impressed me and Jinx’s Fire is no exception. Although a few things didn’t work out quite as I thought they would (the portal to Samara didn’t turn out to be quite as dangerous of a thing as I thought it would be), everything in this book was immensely satisfying as well as deeply thoughtful.
Speaking of deeply thoughtful, I do wish that Blackwood had gone just one step further, pushed subjects a bit more. I found the ongoing discussion about Jinx’s dilemma about good and evil/life and death/fire and ice very interesting, but I felt it could have gone just slightly further. Or perhaps that would have been too much. I don’t know. I just felt like something was missing.
This series is a great example of a MG series that is light and humorous, but at the same time wrestles with important issues like good/evil and protecting one’s country (even if it means fighting) and living up to your full potential and other things. Jinx’s Fire deals with some serious things and has some serious moments in it; the final confrontation with the Bonemaster and Jinx waking up the trees at the end (which reminded me so much of the Ents in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) are particularly so. But it is all dealt with masterfully by Blackwood and in a way that is just perfect for MG.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Potential scary scenes, such as the Bonemaster’s death and the trees attacking the soldiers, as well as general fighting and violence.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Jinx, what happened to you?” Sophie asked, as everyone stumbled into the kitchen.
“Nothing,” said Jinx, looking down at himself. He was covered in blood. “It must have come from—”
In stories, when a young man is handed a sword for the first time, he instantly knows how to use it. In real life, when you run around in the dark carrying a long, double-edged knife, you generally end up cutting yourself. And that was what Jinx had done.
“It’s no big deal,” he said.
Jinx’s Fire is a magnificent conclusion to a fantastic MG trilogy, one of the best I’ve read in quite a while. Blackwood handles the serious issues in the book well (although at some points I wish she had made them a bit more firm in conclusion); so well, in fact, that despite them the book is overall light-hearted and simply a joy to read (although it’s also probably the “darkest” of all three books). I will be looking out for more books by Blackwood in the future.
You can buy this here: Jinx’s Fire