Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows – J.M. Bergen

Book Review by Grace Heine

Elandrian Press sent me this book for free in return for an honest review.

Thomas didn’t realize he was holding his breath until he laid his eyes on the book and heard the air whoosh out of his lungs. The cover was disappointingly ordinary. Faded leather, worn and grooved, with the faintest outline of an illustration on the front. … His eyes drifted to the elegant lettering.”

The Book of Sorrows
(page 42)

Title: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows
Written by: J.M. Bergen
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Elandrian Press
Publication Date: February 2, 2019
Paperback: 352 pages

There was something about the book that made Thomas Wildus need it. Before he ever laid eyes on it and the book still rested in its locked box – he knew he needed it. But when Thomas takes the book home he finds that it contains a story too wild to be true – and too real to be fiction. Not until the book’s cover starts to change colors does Thomas come to grasp with words spoken to him as a boy: Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.  

This book is Harry Potter meets The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with a splash of The Dark is Rising and The Neverending Story.

I have this thing for magical books within magical books.

Blame it on The Neverending Story but ever since I read the story of Bastian stealing a magical book from a magical bookshop I’ve been hooked.

I love reading about books with magical traits that take their fictional reader on an adventure.


Because its a mirror of what I experience when I read.

Reading is magic.

Reading about someone having a magical book is just…


Thomas Wildus is given a book that is about as magical as they come.

The Book of Sorrows transforms Thomas’s life from one of a normal boy to one filled with magic, adventure, and mystery.

I really, really,  really enjoyed the first half of this book.

It was everything I wanted.

It had just the right amount of mystery, just the right amount of magic, and just the right amount of adventure to keep me hooked and wanting more.

But then the second half of the book came and I found myself not enjoying the book as much.


Because  I was enjoying the mystery of not knowing the secrets behind The Book of Sorrows.

The secrets behind the book definitely lived up to their hype – but I was enjoying the first half too much.

I’m not going to give away any plot points but I did find the ending very anti-climatic. I was also disappointed that Thomas didn’t do more and that not all my questions were answered.

However, since this book is the first in a  series I’m pretty sure the end was less than I was hoping for because this is just the beginning of Thomas Wildus.

And, to be honest, I don’t normally read series.

I’m more of a stand-alone novel kind of girl.

I don’t like having three, four, five, six, seven, seventeen books telling the story of the same characters.

I forget half the plot by the time I reach the last book and then have to contemplate rereading the first books – which would cause me to forget what I read in the latter books.

But all that to say the ending was not what I hoped for but that was because it’s part of a series.

On to a completely different tangent: if you read my blog post on Why I’m Done With Harry Potter if you’re probably wondering why I’m promoting a book with magic.

I’d love to give a valid reason.

I’d love to say that when I agreed to read this book and just didn’t know about how “magic-full” it was.

I’d love to say I thought the wizards in this book weren’t human.

I’d love to say I thought this book was about wombats learning to reenact Shakespeare.

But none of that is true.

When I saw the email from the publisher I got excited.

I’d never been asked by a publisher to review a book AND been sent a free (autographed) copy of said book.

I got way too excited.

I actually thought about the fact that I had said I was done with wizards, witches, and warlock-ians wielding special sticks – but I was too excited to care.

So, I said yes.

Did I make the right choice?

I honestly don’t know.

The book was good.

But it went against what I believe – and for that I apologize.

I do not want to be promoting things I cannot stand behind.

However, I made a commitment to the author and the publisher – and I posted this review because I refuse to back down from a promise I made.

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows was a very good book. It was superbly  written, had a very original story, and was just plain fun to read.

I recommend Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows for fans of Harry Potter, anyone looking for a good middle-grade fantasy series to try, or adults who read middle-grade fantasy and just don’t want to tell anyone.

For More Information about the Book and Author Click: HERE

Age Range: 11 and up


Violence: Bullies beat up/push around/trip kids. Enrique tries to/then does punch Thomas. A creature’s claws dig into Thomas’s back. Thomas is knocked unconscious. It is mentioned that two different characters become blind due to magic. A mother lightly swats her son on the head. Wizard stabs the boys palms causing them to bleed. Two guys shot in the leg/chest with magic (the resulting injury was like a bullet wound). Thomas wishes he could beat up the bully. A cave collapsing, terrorism, and armed assailants are mentioned.

Sensuality: A girl and boy kiss – the boy describes it to Thomas. A girl kisses a boy on the cheek. A mother tells her son’s crush that he likes her.

Profanity: freaking moron, moron chief, bloody (fill in the blank here with any word you wish and I was probably used), b—–d, BS (no, seriously the boys said the letters: BS)

Other(drugs/alcohol): Thomas is shocked by electricity – many, many times. His friends are also shocked by electricity. Creature destroying villages/killing/eating people. A woman dies. A lot of talk of dieting.  Professor says he wishes the villain would “fart splinters” and have a “woodblock wedgie”. Both Enrique and Thomas’s dads left when the boys were young. The boys draw unflattering pictures of others in an attempt to make the other boy laugh during class – examples include (but are not limited to) a teacher in his underwear, the same teacher picking his nose, etc. Different boys magically send frozen peas, spinach, and spaghetti into various people’s pants. New age religion, drowning, exile, zombies, suicide, a heart attack, people dying, a baby dying of medical complications, the apocalypse/the world ending, corrupt governments, nuclear bombs, a magician destroying a hospital, and hostages are mentioned.

Personal Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Grace Heine is a sixteen-year-old wanna be writer who spends most of her time reading, writing, playing piano, or finding clever ways to be unproductive. You can visit her book review blog here.

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