Title: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: March 30, 2021
A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods.
The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.
Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.
To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.
But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.
Barclay Thorne is an apprentice to a mushroom farmer in Dullshire. He’s an orphan, whose parents were killed by a massive beast. In Barclay’s town, they keep the beasts away. No one is allowed to go into the forest where the beasts live. When his friend goes running into the forest while they’re gathering mushrooms one day, Barclay follows him. Barclay’s worst nightmare comes true when he encounters a beast, who creates a bond with him, turning Barclay into a Lore Keeper. Barclay is run out of town when the townspeople realize he has a magical connection to a beast. He meets Violet in the forest, who brings Barclay to a town to have his bond with the beast removed. However, the bond is not easily broken, so Barclay is convinced to participate in an apprenticeship contest in order to get his beast bond removed.
This was a fun twist on the middle grade fantasy story. Usually, the main characters in fantasy stories are eager to find and connect with animals. In this case, that was the worst thing that Barclay could imagine. His bond with a beast ruined the plans he had to live a quiet life in his town as a mushroom farmer. The life he wanted to live was so quiet, that the town is actually called “dull.” He didn’t want to go on an adventure, unlike most fantasy characters.
There were some surprising twists throughout the story. Some characters weren’t what they seemed, which really surprised me. The story ended with another adventure beginning, so I’m excited to see what happens in the next book.
This was a fun middle grade fantasy.
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong
The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Have you read The Accidental Apprentice? What did you think of it?