The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2) by Django Wexler

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Synopsis: When Alice’s mysterious Uncle Geryon sends her to help capture a rogue apprentice–a boy who has the same ability Alice has to Read himself into stories–she knows to expect a wild and unpredictable trip. But even though Alice has visited the magical realms inside libraries before, this adventure is far more dangerous. Because Torment, the magic creature holding this library together, has gone mad.

But he might also have information about Alice’s missing father.


I did enjoy the first book in this series.  The plot hits the right points to hook readers in.  Before The Forbidden Library I read The Thousand Names, also by Django Wexler, and enjoyed that.

Spoilers for The Forbidden Library (Book #1)

Okay, first off this synopsis is pretty much perfect.  It’s a thing of beauty really.  There’s no overshare, nothing extra or wrong or off-focus about it, just exactly what you need.

The problem I had with The Forbidden Library, the main problem, is the final battle between the two apprentice Readers and the Dragon.  Up until then it’s fine, if a bit formulaic (which I’ll talk about in just a moment).  I know, in saying this, I’m not as familiar with the book as I could be, but it still seems a little off to me that two apprentices together can achieve what a master cannot.  Even if you do factor in the lack of cooperation between Master Readers.  I think I’ll have to reread it to get some closure on the issue.  Or not, as the case may well be.

If I was in a less jovial mood or he was a worse writer Django Wexler’s books could trigger some sort of rant about the quality of modern fantasy writing.  Technically there’s nothing at all wrong with it.  It does feel though, as if it’s been more constructed than written.  Huge blocks of fantasy elements are stacked one atop another in order to construct… another huge perfect block.  If you’ve read the story by Roald Dahl The Great Automatic Grammatizator then you might be familiar with the idea.  Books written by a machine with the settings on Fantasy>Gunpowder Fantasy, Female Protagonist, and so on.  I can’t find the originality in them.  Or at least, not as much as I’d like.  There is at least one surprise per book, and as it happens I am interested in this particular colour of large blocks, hence my continued readership.

Over all a better book than the first, though only by a little.  I would be very interested should he begin to experiment with the tenets of writing which he obviously holds so dear.

Yes.  If you enjoyed the first, no reason to stop now.

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The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2) by Django Wexler

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