If Barclay Thorne had his way, his life would be spent peacefully hunting for mushrooms in his hometown of Dullshire, never straying into the dangerous Woods that lie on the brink of his peaceful, wonderfully boring village. The Woods, after all, represent everything he and Dullshire hate most--lawlessness, nonconformity, and magic.
Dullshire has lots of rules, but among all of them, that one's the most important: absolutely no magic. It's because of the magical Beasts--and the Lore Keepers, misguided humans who live in the Woods and actually bond with the foul creatures--that Barclay is an orphan. Ever since, he's been determined to do his absolute best to follow every one of Dullshire's rules, though there are some, like never running, that he has some trouble with.
Still, it's Barclay's worst nightmare come true when a mushroom hunting mission goes wrong, and one of the beasts bonds--with him. Cast out of Dullshire, his mushroom hunting future gone in a blink, Barclay is determined to dissolve his bond with the beast and get his life back on track, even if that means seeking out the dangerous and powerful Lore Keepers in the Woods.
But when Barclay discovers a plot that endangers the new place he's starting to wonder if he can find for himself, it's up to him to accept who he might just be becoming before Dullshire itself is destroyed.
The Accidental Apprentice is a light, humorous fantasy novel that nimbly avoids any expected clichés with unexpected freshness and creativity. Barclay's stubbornness is commendable, his resolve relatable, and his development both a joy to read about and full of realism. I loved this world, from Dullshire to the depths of the Woods, and some of the supporting characters particularly stuck out to me. I highly recommend The Accidental Apprentice to readers ages eight and up looking for a whimsical, funny fantasy novel full of adventure.