by P. W. Catanese
By the time I got to the end of Happenstance Found, the first book in the Books of Umber trilogy, I liked it. However, the beginning of this book is a little slow and aimless.
Happenstance is a young boy who wakes up wet and blindfolded in a cave. Soon a man named Umber and his two companions come across him and take him on their journey.
For most of the book Happenstance and his new friends (as well as the reader) are unsure as to who or what Hap is. Is he from this world? Is he magical? What happened to him in his past and why can't he remember anything? Thankfully, this mystery intrigued me, or I likely would have quit reading before the end. Not much happens in the first half of the novel besides wondering.
Thankfully, things finally start to pick up and Hap and Umber learn more about Hap's origins. By the end of the book we've also learned more about Umber's past and the book takes a turn slightly in genre. It is no longer a straight-forward fantasy - a twist I was eager for! I'm interested to see how the next book goes, since it will hopefully not have the problem of vagueness and the complete mystery of Hap that this book did.