Review: Compass to Vinland

Title: Compass to Vinland
Author: Dani Resh
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Contemporary
Publisher: Warren Publishing Inc.
Source: Author
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Wren Larkin has a lot of things working against him-too tall, too thin, and living in a house that looks like an old boot. His only friends are a group of noisy crows that are always bringing him random trinkets. Needless to say, he’s not the most popular kid in town.

But things change when a girl named Maria moves to town and instantly befriends Wren. She continues to do the unexpected when she defends Rusty, the resident bad boy, who might not be as rebellious as Wren thought. Wren learns that it isn’t just coincidence that brought the three of them together when he discovers a shoe workshop under the heel of his house that’s holding-or hiding–three pairs of magical shoes intended for each of them.

When strangers arrive on Wren’s doorstep looking for the shoes, Wren and his new companions have no choice but to flee to Underfoot, an underground settlement full of magical creatures. In just a matter of days, Wren is immersed into a whole new reality that’ll take him on an incredible journey and reveal a lineage that might be better left secret.


Wren Larkin has never understood why he lives in a house shaped like a shoe. It was his mother’s childhood home, but he now lives there with his father while his mother is in a coma. His father is distant and never has time for Wren. One day, a new girl, Maria, arrives at school and they instantly become friends. She makes a scene when she defends Rusty, the bad boy in class. An accident brings Wren, Maria, and Rusty to Wren’s home, where they discover a mysterious and magical shoe workshop hidden beneath it. However, dangerous people have been searching for this workshop, and are willing to do anything to get to it. The three friends have to use the pairs of magic shoes to flee to a magical world called Underfoot. Wren has to figure out how much of his life was a lie, and how many of the fantasy stories he heard growing up were actually true.

This was a fun fantasy story. Wren had to discover that the secret magic that his family had was hiding in his house the whole time. There were hints of magic in their family, since his aunt would tell him stories of Vinland, but he never guessed that the stories were real. This classic storyline of discovering secret magical family history never gets old.

I would have liked the beginning to be more fast paced. There was a lot of description of Wren’s life at home and his time at school for the first few chapters. It took a while for the real action to begin. Once the magical aspects began, it was a really exciting story!

Compass to Vinland is a great start to a new series!

Thank you Dani Resh for providing a copy of this book.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

Have you read Compass to Vinland? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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