JINX by Sage Blackwood is another January publication that has waited patiently for some discussion. This one scores high for me in all the criteria, and yet I find myself sort of lukewarm about it as a Newbery hopeful, and I’m not exactly sure why. It does have a Lloyd Alexander/Diana Wynne Jones vibe to it–which is a good thing!–but I wonder if it isn’t too much like them to be seen as a distinct contribution.
I think something similar happened last year with THE FALSE PRINCE which was so similar to THE THIEF (and THE HUNGER GAMES, at least in its competition aspect) that it was hard for seasoned readers to get as excited about it. This one provides a good foil to THE REAL BOY which is a similar kind of fantasy: not quite epic high fantasy, but certainly with enough of those elements to draw in that crowd. I find JINX superior in all respects (and most especially in the magic department), but rereading them both would help me gain a greater appreciation of their respective distinguished qualities. But why would I want to reread this one when I’ve got the second book, JINX’S MAGIC, queued up in my pile?