The Vengekeep Prophecies

by Brian Farrey

If you simply mention the name “Grimjinx” in the village of Vengekeep, people will automatically reach for their wallets, purses, watches, and any other valuables just to make sure they are still there. Chances are, though, they were nicked from under their noses a while ago. The Grimjinx clan just can’t help it. They come from a long line of thieves, and they are quite good at it. So good, in fact, that they have never been caught stealing, even though everyone in Venegekeep know they are responsible. As the old family motto says: “Enk vessara, enk talmin,” or “You can’t convict what you can’t confirm.”

"Enough of the orphans, kids on the run or distant parents. The Grimjinx family is quirky enough to help you realize how weird your family is, and they want to make you convert your family to a life of crime."

Twelve-year-old Jaxter Grimjinx is proud of his family heritage, although he would be the first to admit he isn’t the best thief in the family. In fact, he is downright awful. The only thing he's really good at is getting past magically sealed locks, but that's only because Jaxter enjoys reading about the various plants, nectars, and other natural elements that could be used to combat magic. All of nature couldn’t help Jaxter, however, on the night when he's finally in charge of his first solo crime. Most thieves would have been in and out without a trace, but with Jaxter, there’s bound to be trouble.

Suffice to say, Jaxter was caught, and while being thrown into prison wasn’t anything new to a Grimjinx, Jaxter was surprised to see that his entire family was also being held. Apparently the Grimjinx family is topic of much debate in Vengekeep, and this time it's for something they could never have expected. Every year, at the festival of the Twins, the city of Vengekeep reveals a tapestry woven 500 years by powerful seers. Each tapestry reveals, for good or for bad, what will happen in Vengekeep for the coming year, and the town acts accordingly. Usually this involves planning for droughts or crop shortages, but this year’s tapestry has something quite peculiar in the center --- the Grimjinx family.

According to this year’s tapestry, the Grimjinx family will save Vengekeep from horrors such as firestorms, lava men, severe flooding, and flying skeletons. Reluctantly, the town council is forced to accept that Jaxter and his family will ultimately be heroes and therefore, are off the hook from getting into any trouble. This free pass is just what Jaxter’s parents planned on. Jaxter’s Ma, an expert forger, eventually tells the family that she is the one who created this year’s tapestry just so the family could finally pull the ultimate con, not get in trouble and retire filthy rich!   

At first, the Grimjinx clan thinks they’ve gotten away with it, but when some of the prophecies from the tapestry start coming true, they realize that something is wrong. Apparently Ma used fateskein to weave the tapestry, which means that everything will indeed come true. After the devastation from the first couple of prophecies, Jaxter figures out a way to destroy the tapestry, but it will involve a dangerous journey where there is no telling what will happen!

The unknown is perhaps what makes THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES so exciting. Sure, the prophecies are pretty clear right from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you know what will happen next. In fact, part of the fun is the many twists and turns that appear out of nowhere, often from one page to the next. I also have to give credit to author Brian Farrey for finally writing a story that features an interesting family. Enough of the orphans, kids on the run or distant parents. The Grimjinx family is quirky enough to help you realize how weird your family is, and they want to make you convert your family to a life of crime. If that isn’t possible, then make sure you at least read about what could be in this exciting new series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on November 6, 2012

The Vengekeep Prophecies
by Brian Farrey

  • Publication Date: October 22, 2013
  • Genres: Family Life, Fantasy
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0062049291
  • ISBN-13: 9780062049292