Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review | The Twelve-Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs

The Twelve-Fingered Boy is a YA fantasy novel by John Hornor Jacobs.

Book Description

Fifteen-year-old fast-talking Shreve doesn’t mind juvie. He’s good at dealing contraband candy, and three meals a day is more than his drunk mother provided. In juvie, the rules never change and everyone is the same. In juvie, Shreve has life figured out.

So when he’s assigned a strangely silent and vulnerable new cellmate, Jack, Shreve takes the younger boy under his wing. But all Shreve’s plans and schemes unravel when he discovers Jack is different. For one thing, Jack has six fingers per hand. For another thing, he just might have superpowers.

Soon Jack has drawn the attention of the cellblock bullies as well as the mysterious and chilling Mr. Quincrux—who claims to be from the Department of Health and Human Services. But when Shreve feels Quincrux invade his mind and shuffle through his darkest memories, he knows Quincrux’s interest in Jack is far more sinister. Mr. Quincrux means to take Jack away. For what purposes, no one knows.

But Shreve has another plan: escape.

Why did I read The Twelve-Fingered Boy?

I'm a fan of John Hornor Jacobs. His debut novel Southern Gods blew me away. (You can check out my review of Southern Gods here.) The Twelve-Fingered Boy is Jacobs's first YA novel, and it sounded like an awesome read.

The Strengths

I have a strong affection for coming of age stories, and I don't find myself reading male POV YA books very often. The Twelve-Fingered Boy was able to fill that spot in my heart and make me a very happy reader.

I love the friendship between Shreve and Jack. This is something I look forward to reading more of in the rest of the series.

Superpowers! Can a YA fantasy get better than the main characters having special abilities? I'm not sure that it can for me. If you love books like the Lorien Legacies (I Am Number Four, etc.) then you should check out The Twelve-Fingered Boy as well.

I'm very happy to report The Twelve-Fingered Boy is a full story. I bitch A LOT around here about series books not giving a full story in each volume. I firmly believe that any and every book should be able to stand on its own. Even though there is a larger story arch and questions left unanswered, The Twelve-Fingered Boy is completely capable of standing on its own.

The design of the physical book is fantastic. I'm very blessed to have a hard copy. It's a great read so I certainly recommend downloading the ebook if that is your thing, but bibliophiles, keep in mind this is a stunning book.

The front and back matter are printed on dark paper.

The Weakness

When the big baddie Mr. Quincrux forcibly enters Shreve's mind (not a spoiler/in the book blurb), Shreve has a very strong reaction to how he's been violated. I was uncomfortable with the extent to which Shreve was equating this violation especially given the fact that (this part is a spoiler) Shreve goes on to do the exact same thing to others.

Would I recommend The Twelve-Fingered Boy to others?

Yes! It was a really great read. The Shibboleth comes out in March so I will definitely be reading that one soon as well.

8/10: Great Read

Review copy provided by author via publisher


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  1. Aaa! I got this at BEA, but may have given it away b/c I wasn't sure I would read it. Regretting it! I still need to read Southern Gods.

    1. Oh, no. Maybe you still have it. You really do need to read Southern Gods. *book pushing*

  2. Awesome cover, and the book sounds quite interesting. Great review!

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  4. This sound quite good, I like YA's with psychic abilities and all that. The juvie angle is kind of interesting. Nice that you get a full story too. I've read some good YA's recently with kids having special powers (Paladin Prophecy, Blythewood) and this sounds like another one.

  5. Oooo! This one sounds good! I'll have to give it a shot.

  6. How have I not heard of this!?!? The Twelve Fingered Boy sounds like a story I would really love. I will have to grab a copy of this soon.

  7. Oh my gosh, it sounds like a fantastic book! I want to read this! Thanks for the great review :)

    My Book Musings


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