The Finisher – David Baldacci
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
First published: 2014
Blurb: Enter a village imprisoned by its fear of the unknown. Where curiosity is discouraged, and no one has ever left – or wanted to. Until now.
Then a mysterious bequest turns one teenage girl’s life upside down. A curious map and a ring which connects Vega to another time lead her to discover an unknown world beyond the perimeter walls. A world filled with possibilities, and creatures beyond her imagining. But before Vega can experience it, she will be forced to fight for her freedom. And unravelling the truth of what exists beyond the confines of her village may cost Vega her life…
History of my copy: I picked this book up at Tesco as part of their 2 for £7 deal a while ago, and it was entirely a cover buy! I had heard of David Baldacci and knew his books were well-received, which further fuelled my purchase.
I started this book the day I bought it, but had only read the first couple of chapters. Since then, it has resided on my ‘currently reading’ shelf until I picked it up a few days ago and finished it off.
Plot: Meet Vega Jane, a 14-session old Wug from Wormwood. Her village is surrounded by The Quag, a place where no-one is allowed to go, and neither do most want to. This story follows Vega as she works as a Finisher at Stacks, coming to terms with living without her parents and discovering that most things she has been told about her village are a lie. She starts to piece together the truth, along with her friend Delph, but she is arrested for possessing a book about The Quag. Rather than spend a lifetime in Valhall, or be beheaded, she must fight in the Duelem for her freedom. She also must battle against Morrigone, a seemingly nice Wug on the council who is a mixed character – she saves Vega’s life, but also tries to kill her, as well as taking Vega’s brother John to help build a wall to keep the Outliers out – or keep the villagers in. Vega must use Destin, a magical chain that helps her fly, the Elemental, a magical staff, and her dog, Harry Two, to defeat the evil in wormwood and allow her and Delph to escape and discover the outside world.
Setting: The entirety of this book is set in the village Wormwood. Setting isn’t a strong point, and I kept losing track of where Vega was at some point. There isn’t much description on what a lot of the places look like either, so you have to use a lot of imagination.
Characters: I must admit that no characters stand out as particularly interesting. Most of the villagers are nasty to Vega, and she has many enemies. However, there are, of course, a few Wug’s that are on her side.
Delph, Vega’s best friend, is perhaps the most interesting character. He starts with a stutter, caused by Morrigone, but Vega helps him overcome this. He is fiercely loyal to both his father and Vega. He helps her learn to fight for the Duelem, and just generally fits the ‘male best friend and possible future love interest’ that the majority of female main characters have.
To read or not to read: Don’t read. I was really disappointed by this book, especially as I was so eager to read it. The plot was slow, then everything happened all at once, and it didn’t all link together or make sense. Furthermore, the world had the potential to be engrossing, but it just didn’t work. I may eventually try to read the next book in the series, but it would be at the bottom of my ‘to read’ list.