31 March 2014

The Finisher

I watched her until she disappeared from view. Then I looked to the sky. I wasn’t sure why. Maybe to find answers I could never hope to discover down here.

Welcome to the village of Wormwood, surrounded by the Quag filled with nightmare creatures. Wormwood is home to the Wugmorts, who go about the same business every day, marking their years into session and their time into slivers.

Vega Jane is a finisher, whose job it is to “finish off” objects of beauty for the wealthier classes. There is a strict class structure in Wormwood and the Council keeps everything in order. No-one comes into Wormwood, and because of the Quag, no-one ever thinks of leaving.

When Vega Jane sees a Wug run into the Quag, chased by Council canines, she begins to question. A series of strange events lead her to a map and the discovery that nothing is as she has been told, not even her job as a Finisher at Stacks.

I read a lot of fantasy. What sets this book apart from me is the world. Wormwood is so different but at the same time familiar. Add that to a story line that can’t be second-guessed (no matter how much fantasy you read!) and this book is a winner for me.

There is a map of Wormwood to guide the reader and the black and white illustrations by Nathan Aardvaak make the Quag creatures even more frightening. While there is no mention of a sequel, the ending leaves the reader in exactly the right place to move on to book two. I am hopeful there will be one.

Reviewed by Sandy Fussell

Title: The Finisher
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia, $16.99 RRP
Publication date: March 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9871447263005
For ages: Young Readers, Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

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