Nick runs away from his abusive uncle in hopes of finding a better life for himself. What he finds is a magic bookstore and its owner, who claims to be an evil wizard. The Evil Wizard Smallbone takes Nick as his apprentice, but refused to teach him magic. Instead Nick has to cook and clean and tend the animals. Luckily the bookstore gives Nick just what he needs to handle Smallbone and an even greater threat, the cruel werewolf, Fidelou.
Sherman has created a delightful
magical romp that will appeal to kids who like the fantasies of Michael
Buckley and Holly Black. Nick and Smallbone are both endearingly flawed
and the fun of the book is watching them gradually go from being
enemies to allies. Sherman's magic system is interesting and I was pleasantly surprised that there were plot twists that I hadn't expected. The book had a satisfying ending, but leaves enough
open that readers can hope for a sequel. (408 p.)