«Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows» is the first book in the magical middle-grade series ( trilogy?), perfect for the fans of “the chosen one” tropes, adventures and magic!
Middle-grade books will always have a special place in my reader’s heart. The middle-grade books made me fall in love with reading, they made me stay up late with a torch under the blanket finishing “just one more chapter” and hoping that my parents wouldn’t notice the light coming from beneath my door.
Adventure, magic, and most importantly friendship in my favorite books made me the avid reader I am today.
Thomas thinks he’s an ordinary twelve year old, but when a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes gives him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows, the world he knows is turned upside down. Suddenly he’s faced with a secret family legacy, powers he can hardly begin to understand, and an enemy bent on destroying everything he holds dear. The more he reads and discovers, the deeper the danger to himself and the people he loves. As the race to the final showdown unfolds, Thomas must turn to trusted friends and uncertain allies as he seeks to prevent destruction at an epic scale.
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1 – As much as I enjoyed certain elements of the story, that I will talk about below, I was also slightly disappointed. I expected this book to be more magic heavy than it was.
Seventy percent of the book felt more like a contemporary novel than fantasy. We followed Thomas around as he went to school, hung out with his friends or had dinner with his mom.
I don’t mind when the books show that the main character is not just the chosen one, that he also leads a normal life of a twelve-year-old boy. But when I’m reading fantasy I want these mundane tasks to lead to something, to have a distinct purpose of comparison between the mundane and the magical. I want those moments to help set the tone for more fantastical elements, and make me feel that I could also experience something magical one day, even in my rather normal life.
Instead, Thomas went out and about, went to school, crushed on a girl, played games with his friends, and led a normal life for the majority of the book.
2 – Another point worth mentioning is that the story was developing very slowly. I don’t know if a twelve-year-old me would have had the patience to keep reading just to get to the adventures and action that began after the first ¾ of the book.
After years of searching, Thomas Wildus finally got his hand on a magical book, but there was a big let down (for him and for the readers). He was only allowed to read one chapter at a time and ONLY when he was alone at home. Thomas followed the rules! And I patiently followed him on this rule-binding adventure of reading the book inside the book.
3 – Speaking about the Book of Sorrows that I read together with Thomas, I know it was an ancient book, and it made sense for it to be written in an older version of English. But it was very distracting. To be honest, I just skimmed through those paragraphs to not lose my connection with Thomas’ story.
4 – Now, let’s talk about some positive points. First and most important is Thomas himself. I really liked his character, and I would love to see how he develops in the future. It would be very interesting to follow his rebellious teen phase (if he gets one).
The twelve-years-old Thomas is a nice kid. He is a good student, loves reading, stands against the bullies, and helps his mom around the house. (too good to be true? 😀 ). So I’d like him to go through the “bad” phase later on in the books, to spice things up a little bit.
5 – I’m also very intrigued by the magic in this world. All we know is that it comes from descendants of one important family. However, there are others who can manifest the powers as well. But we weren’t yet explained all the whys, hows and whats. The future books will most likely provide more information on the “reasons why magic exists in this world”, and also on the abilities, spells and hopefully give some structure to it.
Overall, this is a very decent first book in the new magical series. I don’t think it can compete with the great chosen ones like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but it definitely has some very interesting and captivating elements.
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4 thoughts on “Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen”
I’m glad that you had an overall good experience! I feel as though most books can’t reach the Harry Potter level. But I will FINALLY know the hype with Percy Jackson since I have four of the five books now!!
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Let me know what you think about Percy Jackson once you read the books. I read 3 books (I think), and they were alright but I kinda expected more from them. And also, since Percy in the movie was an older teen, I kinda expected to see that in the books as well, but turns out book Percy is little! Shocking! I know 😀
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Oh really eh??? Good to note. Figures they change that around … ugh.
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