The Accidental Apprentice is the first book in a new series for middle grade readers by Amanda Foody. Due out 30th March 2021 from Simon & Schuster on their Margaret K. McElderry imprint, it's 304 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.
This is an action packed, well paced, rollicking adventure. It's aimed at middle grade readers (approximately grades 3-7) but definitely enjoyable as an all ages read. The author is gifted at storytelling in clear accessible language which is accessible for younger readers but fun and engaging for adults as well.
The author has the same wry touch with placenames and characters (Dullshire, Humdrum, and Diddlystat) as other perennial favorites such as Dickens and a deft talent with characterization as well. The narrative arc rolls along at a breathless pace and everyman protagonist Barclay is soon thrust into an adventure against his will. All Barclay can ever remember wanting was to belong, to be responsible, to have a family (he's an orphan) and to be successful in his apprenticeship as a mushroom farmer. Soon he's an unwilling Lore Keeper using magic he can't control and only wishing to get back to his life in Dullshire.
This is an exceptionally good start to a fantasy series for all ages. I would recommend it for school or public library acquisition, reading groups, family reading time, and gifting. It reminds me in some ways of other all-ages media such as Spiderwick Chronicles with a little Pokemon vibe. Clean language and not-very-much on-page graphic violence.
Five stars. I'm looking forward to finding out what comes next.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.