HomeReviewsMiddle GradeReview: Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice

Review: Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice


Title: Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date Published: March 30, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Goodreads Synopsis:

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.

Overall Thoughts:

This is a joyous, delightful middle grade fantasy that is pretty much akin to a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold day. Pure comfort. Not that it is ever saccharine, just a thoroughly entertaining story.

While the concept of a magical school/magical competition is familiar and well trodden, Amanda Foody does a great job keeping the story-trope fresh with tiny tastes of the familiar aspects we enjoy. Magical forests, forest spirits/sprites, animal familiars, an old quiet village in the forest that serves copious amounts of pear cider, and a whole host of courage, heart, and spirit make this novel a favourite. 

If I was a bit tired of the “will he/won’t he accept his bond with his beast” storyline, it wasn’t enough to take away from the whole. Overall, this is just a solidly good, entertaining middle grade to sink into when the world is all a little too overwhelming.

Read This If:

  • You have an anthropomorphic loving heart and enjoy assigning names and personalities to animals of all kinds as well as inanimate objects.
  • Enchanted forests delight you. 
  • Are fond of found family stories and magical schools. 

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