Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thriller Pick: The Finisher

Book Giveaway:
I have FIVE free copies of this middle grade-high school fantasy pick. Balacci steps into the YA arena with his latest book. Although almost 500 page count, The Finisher is a quick read with action, mystery and intrigue. For your chance to grab a FREE copy, post a comment to the blog. Include first name, city, state and email address (addresses must be USA addresses and no post office boxes, sorry). Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is noon MST May 15. Winners will be notified via email shortly after noon on that date. Please check your email. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Scholastic.
What I say:
The Finisher
by David Baldacci
Scholastic Press
497 pages

Vega Jane lives in the  small, backward village of Wormwood. She is one of the few females who survive there. Her family is broken--both her mother and father are ill and in nursing care, her grandfather is "dead" having had an Event some years back. Vega helps out her younger brother John when she is able. Working long hours as a finisher in the Stacks, Vega is surprised when her mentor vanishes into the deadly Quag. Even more surprising is the parchment message Quentin leaves for Vega.

The village elders known as the Council offer a huge reward for the return of Quentin....dead or alive. Vega is afraid for her mentor and even more afraid for herself; for now, she has more than one secret. As Vega discovers the secrets of Wormwood and the dangerous evils that surround it, she realizes that everything is a lie.

Strange names for all sorts of beasts and animals, magical elements, sci-fi like holes in time and space, language that seems archaic to our ears: befuddlement, arse,  brethren, tis, and the quaint, almost sleepy village of Wormwood where the Council controls life and death give The Finisher an almost Tolkien/Lowry feel.

Vega Jane as a strong female protagonist seems compelled for far greater things, but she remains in Wormwood instead of venturing into the Quag. The Quag for all its secrets and danger is not a central part of the story, but I wished it had been. The elements for an amazing series are all here, but Baldacci takes his time developing the world around Vega Jane without setting her up to be the great, feisty female of YA fantasy. She is not Katniss Everdeen; on the other hand, Vega beats out Bella Swan easily.

Recommended for fans of fantasy. Book two looks promising to tell more about the secrets of the Quag which will be a welcome departure from sleepy Wormwood.

Suitable for middle grades-high school.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


  1. I would love to be entered into the giveaway. Thanks for doing this.

  2. Love his adult books and looking forward to putting his work into the hands of my students!

    Bloomsburg PA
    bfritzlibrary at gmail dot com

  3. I would love a free copy of this book!!!!

    Rosalia Carraba
    West Seneca East Middle School
    1445 Center Road
    West Seneca NY 14224

  4. Sounds interesting!

    Barb Gogan
    Sudbury Public School (MA)
    barbgogan @

  5. Love Baldacci!

    Brian Johnson
    Lakeside Junior High School

  6. Who wouldn't love a new strong female protagonist?!

    Barbara Haas
    Boushall Middle School
    3400 Hopkins Road
    Richmond, VA 23234

  7. Loved The Winner. The students and I would love to review this.


  8. This one sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Susan Light
    Christiansburg High School
    Christiansburg VA

  9. Thanks for the chance to win. Sounds good!

  10. Looks like a fun one!
    Brewer, ME

  11. I am intrigued by the story and curious to see how David Baldacci handles YA. Thanks for the opportunity!

    Allston, MA

  12. Looks like a great book!

    Aberdeen, ID

  13. Perfect for the fantasy readers at my school!
    Horseheads, NY

  14. Sounds like a great read!
    Winfield, MO

  15. Thanks for the chance to win a book!
    Maggie Knapp
    Fort Worth, TX

  16. Sounds like a great read! Maybe I'll win!
    Washington, VA

  17. While I'm not a fan of these fantasy books, I know many of my students are.
    Jackie Meyer
    Melrose, MN

  18. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Heidelberg, Germany

  19. Thanks again for your great reviews and your exciting giveaways.

    Heidi Lewis
    Guinyard Butler Middle School
    779 Allen Street
    Barnwell, SC 29812

  20. Kathryn
    Binghamton, NY

  21. Sounds like another wonderul entry in YA fantasy.

    DB cooper
    Chatham, VA 124531

  22. I can't wait to read this book! Fingers crossed.
    Rochester, NY

  23. Appreciate your reviews! They are always spot on!
    Pasadena, TX

  24. You always give such good recommendations. I look forward to reading this one myself, especially with summer vacation coming up!
    New Milford, Ct

  25. I've heard a lot of good things about this title, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I have some students who devour chapter books overnight, so I am always on the lookout for more.
    Maryville, TN

  26. Sounds like a great book!
    Dover, AR

  27. I heard david baldacci give a lecture in Syracuse last year and he was fantastic! I'd love to win his book for my jr/sr library!