The Apprentices by Maile Meloy

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (414 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rated: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s defiant son who stole her heart. On the other side of the world, Benjamin and his father are treating the sick and wounded in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a magical new formula that allows him to communicate with Janie across the globe. When Benjamin discovers that she’s in trouble, he calls on their friend Pip for help. The three friends are thrown into a desperate chase around the world to find one another, while unraveling the mystery of what threatens them all.

Acclaimed author Maile Meloy seamlessly weaves together magic and adventure in this breathtaking sequel with stunning illustrations by Ian Schoenherr.

Where magic and mystery meet!

Thoroughly engrossing, Meloy’s new work The Apprentices is a simply spellbinding magical adventure. However, it is the characters – the true test of friendship, and the emotional connections, that is the heart of this story.

The Apprentices is a sequel (to The Apothecary) but this reader had not read the first (an oversight I will correct) and this is perfectly comprehensible as a stand-alone. The plot is definitely interesting and unpredictable, yet it is Janie, Benjamin, and Pip who drive the story. The three friends search the world to find each other… well, the search actually starts sooner than that. Janie searches her mind for memories of three missing weeks. Her search allows us readers to get a sense of that first novel, and works as something of a prologue. I might wish this bit had been a bit shorter.

This is also a good illustration of how wonderfully Meloy builds characters: Janie’s roommate Opal’s family are as real as any of the main characters, in the space of a paragraph. And the very first of the surprises happens so quickly after we disregard both Opal AND her parents… that I am immediately shocked and then mad and intrigued. However, I must tell you that I absolutely hate spoilers, and that makes writing a review for this (that anyone can comprehend, anyway) darn near impossible. Just as we begin to think we can see where this is going, we realize we cannot see at all.

This book is getting a 5 star review because the plot is magically plotted – and as I read on, I can only tell you that further events are both logical and suprising, that magic is a delight – and friendship, true friendship, never lets you down.

The writer’s style: Polished professionalism. This story is completely engrossing, and the writing fades to the background – it is simply never intrusive. The classic ‘good read.’ In fact, from cover to layout, everything about The Apprentices is top quality. If you like a true spellbinder, do read.


  1. I hope you’ll review The Apothecary at some point.

    It will be interesting to see what book two omitted about the first book’s plot!

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