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The Finisher

Review

The Finisher

Fourteen-year-old Vega Jane knows only a couple of things in life to be true. The first is that in order to maintain some semblance of peace and control in her village of Wormwood, everyone must have a job and stick to it. Through the years, this has caused quite a huge division between the ruling class and the working class, where all the people are referred to as Wugs, but Vega knows how important it is to keep quiet and do her job. Vega is what they call a Finisher --- under the guidance of her mentor Quentin Herms, she must finish, or make polished and presentable, all of the candlesticks, tools, and toys created in the Stacks.
 
The second thing Vega knows to be true is that no one ever leaves Wormwood. Wormwood is surrounded by a vast expansive forest called the Quag.  Filled with terrifying beasts and dangerous creatures known as Outliers that can control and manipulate you, the Quag means an instant death sentence. No one has ever ventured into the Quag and come back alive, and the Wugs in Wormwood are under a constant threat of the bloodthirsty beasts and Outliers venturing into Wormwood without notice. These two basic truths have kept the people of Wormwood safe for centuries, but Vega wonders if there is some outside world waiting to be explored.
 
 Looking for a dystopian society that isn’t tired or worn out? Check. Want some terrifying and original beasts that could strip you from limb to limb? Check. Eager for some magical elements? Check. Looking for a heroine that is humble yet strong and willing to take some risks? Check.
 
Which is why it’s all the more frightening --- and intriguing --- when Vega gets caught up in what amounts to a police chase of her colleague and friend Quentin! Vega watches as he disappears into the Quag and fears for his life. She also doesn’t understand why he would take such risks. On the other hand, Vega finds herself envious that Quentin is finally exploring the great unknown. This feeling grows when Vega discovers Quentin left her a map of how to navigate through the Quag, along with some tips on how to deal with the beasts. Vega is instantly suspicious of both Quentin’s motives to leave as well as the ruling class’s desire to shield the truth of Wormwood from its inhabitants.
 
Vega’s desire to know more truths --- how was Wormwood created, what exactly is the Quag, why was Quentin running --- may just get her into trouble. The ruling Wugs notice when others start asking too many questions, and as Vega begins to uncover long-forgotten memories and troubling secrets, she may be in over her head with no escape from some of the people she thought she trusted the most!
 
I’ve only barely scratched the surface in this review of all that author David Baldacci has jam-packed into the refreshing and quite exhilarating THE FINISHER. Looking for a dystopian society that isn’t tired or worn out? Check. Want some terrifying and original beasts that could strip you from limb to limb? Check. Eager for some magical elements? Check. Looking for a heroine that is humble yet strong and willing to take some risks? Check. Ready to dive into a brand new series that leaves you wondering what in the world could happen next? Check. THE FINISHER has it all, and it’s just the start to an intriguing and hopefully satisfying new series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on March 12, 2014

The Finisher
(Vega Jane #1)
by David Baldacci

  • Publication Date: March 3, 2015
  • Genres: Children's, Fiction
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 054565226X
  • ISBN-13: 9780545652261