Scholastic Press, March 2014
As all readers, I’ve seen “David Baldacci” in every bookstore and library I’ve entered since 1996. My friends on GoodReads adore his writing, his titles are peppered through-out my To-Read List and as a fellow Virginian; I’ve really and truly been looking forward to joining the mania. I couldn’t have been more excited to discover The Finisher in my latest box of brilliance from Buried Under Books.
Admittedly, I did a double-take. My treasure chest is always loaded with Middle-Grade and YA books. Does Ms. L. think I’ve grown up (gasp) or is she just feeling particularly fond to have chosen me to review Mr. Baldacci’s inaugural endeavor into this genre so near and dear to me? Oh, good, it’s the latter and I’m eternally grateful, because this book is spectacular!
The Finisher is a fantastical, awe-inspiring, action-packed adventure that will pull the reader into the Vega Jane’s Wormwood and hold him; captivated, enthralled and experiencing a range of emotions that surely will have him hooked, like a greedy fish on a line.
The characters enchant immediately from the ferocious spit-fire Vega to her perfect complement of a best bud, the docile, dependable Delph. Mr. Baldacci magically presents a supporting cast of Wugs that, on the one hand, seem a simple-minded crew….more “sheeple” than “people” in that the general consensus is not to question The Council; or to be fair, just not to question. On the other hand, well…things are not always as they appear. Seemingly, the Wugs were content to plod through each Light and Night accepting the nebulous answers to rather pointed questions, and most certainly, never dreaming of leaving the safe haven of Wormwood, for aside from the surrounding dark and foreboding Quag, filled with monstrous creatures, there was simply a void.
Always happy to embrace the intelligent, determined female; it was with great delight, I realized our Vega was not to be so quickly satisfied. Though her questions clearly placed in her in harm’s way, her undeniable will for the good of many easily over-rode any nerves she felt for herself as an individual. Her actions convey empathy, kindness, loyalty and selflessness; all admirable yet apparently elusive traits. The reminder is subtle, but strong.
While her world, along with the creatures and customs within, is the thing of vivid imaginations and unparalleled creativity; the passion, desire, strength and remarkably hard choices are all realities that we mere humans must abide. The cunning, enthralling tale hints at this, without boldly announcing it; which is one of the thousands of reasons that I simply adore this tome.
In a few weeks, when school starts, I fully expect to see students reading The Finisher as it slyly rests on their legs underneath of their desks and cafeteria tables. I will share a smile and thumbs up with these brilliant blokes.
Reviewed by jv poore, August 2014.