Matthew Jobin’s The Nethergrim faced an uphill battle when I began reading. It’s classified as a children’s book, instead of the YA book that it is. It’s got a weird looking cover and even stranger back cover. The title is offputting. Honestly, after all that, I only gave it a try because I got the free ARC. So consider me shocked when I was drawn in after the first page.
The book is framed by the legend of a great hero named Tristan. Once you hear his story, you are brought to a sleepy small town the houses three young, but intriguing protagonists. Edmund, the scholar and wanna-be-wizard who is so misunderstand that his father burns his books for punishment. Katherine, the sword-wielding tomboy who doesn’t fit in, but is irresistible to all the boys. And Tom, an indentured servant with an abusive master, but a talent with animals.
The action rises quickly with an attack from the mysterious Nethergrim. And this is where the book really starts to impress. Jobin does a good job creating the villain in this story. The Nethergrim remains mysterious for most of the book, there are interesting minions and it was logical. There was a solid reason for the Nethergrim, there was a surprisingly logical villain and there was a legitimate tie-in to the introductory Tristan legend.