________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 14. . . .December 4, 2015


The Nethergrim. (Book 1).

Matthew Jobin.
New York, NY: Puffin Books (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2014.
356 pp., trade pbk., $9.99.
ISBN 978-0-14-242268-7.

Subject Heading:

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Teresa Iaizzo.

**** /4


“Gray he is, and where he steps, the cold lingers.” Grubby Hands waved his fat arms all about, sloshing some of his ale onto the floor. “Tall he is, tall as houses, black of eye as deep as the end of the world! His fur is daggers, his teeth are knives, his hands blood red with a thousand crimes, and not time nor love nor bravery can stop their grasping. He cannot be slain, for he is the voice of the world when it says, ‘I love you not.’”


Matthew Jobin’s The Nethergrim is an epic fantasy novel that centers on Edmund Bale and his quest to defeat the mythical Nethergrim. Reminiscent of Harry Potter, Edmund is a normal 14 year old boy who embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his two closest friends in order to defend his village from an evil force. The son of innkeepers, he is secretly studying magic behind his parents’ backs. They are none too happy that Edmund wants to become a wizard, but he essentially comes to rely on his magical training in order to save others from the Nethergrim and its conspirators.

     Essentially, no one knows what the Nethergrim looks like, but one thing is certain; it is pure evil. It thrives off of the misery of others, especially children. And that is where the story begins. At first, animals start to go missing in nearby villages, but then children start to disappear as well, including Edmund’s brother. Villagers seem to think that the Nethergrim is behind these latest disappearances, but some people are not so sure as the Nethergrim was said to have been slain years earlier by local heroes, Tristan the knight and Vithric the wizard.

     Edmund, together with his best friends Katherine and Tom, embarks on an epic journey in order to save his brother and other children from the grasp of the Nethergrim. What they discover is a dark secret that involves magic and the delicate balance between life and death. More importantly, Edmund discovers that he has the power to become a true wizard if he puts his mind to it.

     Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed Edmund’s quest to defeat the Nethergrim. His story is your quintessential hero’s tale where our young protagonist must go on an adventure and face his darkest fears in order to save humanity. But most importantly, I really enjoyed the way in which the story was told. Matthew Jobin is a very descriptive writer, giving precise details about characters, their surroundings, and most importantly, their inner thoughts. I could just picture myself in the fictional village of Moorvale with its inhabitants. I could also picture myself traveling through the countryside and into the mountains with Edmund and his friends. It is these evocative images that will stay with readers long after they have read The Nethergrim. I would recommend this book to anyone who craves a great epic fantasy.

Highly Recommended.

Teresa Iaizzo is a Senior Library Assistant with the Toronto Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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