Vega Jane, Book 1: The Finisher


Vega Jane lives in a small, backward village called Wormwood. She is one of the few females who survive there. Her family is broken--both her mother and father are ill and in nursing care, her grandfather is "dead" having had an Event some years back. Vega helps out her younger brother John when she is able. Working long hours as a finisher in the Stacks, Vega is surprised when her mentor vanishes into the deadly Quag. Even more surprising is the parchment message Quentin leaves for Vega.The village elders known as the Council offer a huge reward for the return of Quentin....dead or alive. Vega is afraid for her mentor and even more afraid for herself; for now, she has more than one secret. As Vega discovers the secrets of Wormwood and the dangerous evils that surround it, she realizes that everything is a lie.Strange names for all sorts of beasts and animals, magical elements, sci-fi like holes in time and space, language that seems archaic to our ears: befuddlement, arse,  brethren, tis, and the quaint, almost sleepy village of Wormwood where the Council controls life and death give The Finisher an almost Tolkien/Lowry feel.Vega Jane as a strong female protagonist seems compelled for far greater things, but she remains in Wormwood instead of venturing into the Quag. The Quag for all its secrets and danger is not a central part of the story, but I wished it had been. The elements for an amazing series are all here, but Baldacci takes his time developing the world around Vega Jane without setting her up to be the great, feisty female of YA fantasy. She is not Katniss Everdeen; on the other hand, Vega beats out Bella Swan easily.Recommended for fans of fantasy. Book two looks promising to tell more about the secrets of the Quag which will be a welcome departure from sleepy Wormwood.

484 pages  Ages  12 and up  978-0545652209

Recommended by:  Pamela Thompson, Library Media Specialist, Texas USA

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