The Mad Apprentice (Forbidden Library #2)

Author(s): Django Wexler

Children - 9 to 14

Old Readers are supposed to live for ever, magically inhabiting the spaces between stories. They're not supposed to die. But they can be murdered. When an ancient Reader is killed, seemingly by his own apprentice, the hierarchy of the magical world tumbles and its spider web of alliances begin to unravel. Now it's up to Alice and the remaining apprentices to sort out the mess and catch the murderer. But the world is changing all around them. Things are not as they seem. It's almost as if they are trapped in a strange sort of labyrinth...

This wonderfully confusing book is based in a world where there are ‘Readers’. If you have not read The Forbidden Library #1, in this review it will be explained but remember to read the first one first. This is important!!!!! ‘Readers’ are people who have magic powers. You see, if a Reader reads a certain book they can be put into a world inside that book. There are different kinds of magical books. There are portal books which you can easily get in and out of; they can transport you between different worlds. Then there are the prison books which have a prisoner in them. To get out of a prison book, the Reader must defeat the prisoner, i.e: usually kill it. The Reader then has control over the prisoner. The main character is a young Reader called Alice. She is an apprentice to the old Reader, Geryon. She has already conquered some animals, including a Dragon. She is sent with a whole lot of other apprentices to defeat a rouge apprentice who has killed his master. What seemed like a simple task actually turns into a desperate fight to stay alive. Everything is normal until the Dragon talks to her. Five of them are caught in a labyrinth, to be killed by Torment, the magical creature who controls the Library. Everything seems hopeless until Alice summons the Dragon. Read this book of intrigue, murder, magical mayhem and mystery now. - Cosmo (12)


Django Wexler’s first book The Forbidden Library had me hooked with its talking cats, strange magicians, moving bookshelves and dangerous quests. Book two is just as gripping. The Mad Apprentice sees our heroine, Alice, a Reader’s Apprentice, sent to another world to counter an apprentice who has apparently turned mad. This time she’s not on her own but meets up with a group of other apprentices who work together to solve the problem and work out what is really going on. More dangerous than ever, with cruel tricks and vicious beasts, the quest is filled with twists and turns as the children make their way through a strange labyrinth. Isaac, the boy who befriended and then betrayed her in Book One, turns up in this story too, but he is strangely quiet and dismissive of Alice. With her usual kindness, bravery and cleverness, Alice is instrumental in solving the puzzle and finds out a little more about this strange world she has been initiated into. - Stella


Alice is an apprentice Reader. In The Forbidden Library she ‘entered’ a number of books in her master’s library and subdued the creatures she found there. She now has their attributes and abilities available to her, attached by a number of ‘threads’ in her mind. In this book, Alice and the apprentices of a number of other Readers are sent into the labyrinth of a Reader who has apparently been murdered by his apprentice (who they are sent to retrieve for justice). Upon their arrival, they find the labyrinth unexpectedly active, constantly changing and full of monsters, and they must draw upon their magic powers to survive. The labyrinth is still under the control of Torment, the dead Reader’s malign wolfish Labyrinthine. Alice, determined to find out the truth about her father’s disappearance, discovers that the dragon she has bound on a mind-thread is a Labyrinthine and gives her power not only to control the labyrinth, ‘folding’ positions within it together, but also over Torment, and she begins to learn the truth, not only about her father, but about herself. Although the book tends to veer off on yet another chase-and-monster-combat scene just when the ideas start to get interesting, the ideas are actually interesting, and Cosmo (who recommended this to me) and I are now waiting for the third book in the series. - Thomas

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Anyone can get lost in a book. But it's a lot more dangerous when it happens to Alice ...

"Wexler is an able builder of magical worlds and creatures, with labyrinths, an enchanted library, and a feisty, swashbuckling heroine at the centre. A story rich in action and allegory." Kirkus Reviews

Django Wexler graduated Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft and Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts. www.djangowexler.com @DjangoWexler

General Fields

  • : 9780552568685
  • : Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • : Corgi Childrens
  • : February 2015
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : May 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Django Wexler
  • : Paperback
  • : 515
  • : 813.6
  • : 352