I know quite a few middle grade readers who would love The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Belger.
The book starts off with twelve-year old Nell Perkins observing a strange, bruise-coloured cloud that has appeared over her home town of Mist Falls, preceding the disappearance of a group of mothers. Nell is aware that there is some kind of magic at work – she herself has an ability that allows her to see others for what they really are. Her mother is taken by the cloud and Nell finds herself embarking on a dangerous mission to find and return her mother. Her journey sees her crossing paths with the Dark Daughters – frightening witches – and The Fearless Travelers, leaving behind the real world for the place where dreams and nightmares reside, including the Wicked Places mentioned in the title.
The book is full of interesting characters. Nell, and her strange ability is one of them and as you’re reading you often forget that she is only twelve years old. She feels some responsibility for her mother’s predicament and enlists the help of her younger brothers, George and Speedy to assist her. The Dark Daughters are actually quite frightening villains in this story and though we don’t get a huge amount of backstory on them, they’re very intriguing. Badger, likewise, has a very interesting history although it does feel at times that we only get snippets of who and what he is.
I found the book to be a fairly easy read, although the pace in Part Three of the book was definitely where my attention was well and truly hooked. As middle grade fiction some of the story simply relies on the audience to accept the plot line of the story (and many middle grade readers would definitely do that) although as an adult I do have quite a few questions lingering at the end.
Overall I was satisfied with my reading experience. This is a book that is definitely on the darker end of middle-grade fiction as it deals with dreams and nightmares – many of the nightmares will resound with any reader.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars for a solid read. I loved the world that was built and I wish there was a little more to explore of it!
The Fearless Travelers Guide to Wicked Places is due to be released in March 2017.
Title | The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places
Author | Pete Belger
Genre | Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date | March 2017
Publisher | Capstone
Format | eBook
Good Reads Review | The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places