"Jinx sat up. Reven was sitting beside him, his arms bandaged in a red-and-white napkin. The troll was gone. There was blood on the path. And something large and inert. Jinx's stomach did a flip flop. It was the troll's arm. Jinx put his hand to his face and it came away bloody. The things that had just happened began to sort themselves out in his head."

 If you've never been to the forest of Urwald, let Sage Blackwood take you there. You will find a distinct and imaginative world where life happens in a way that is not always good:

"In the Urwald you grow up fast or not at all. By the time Jinx was six he had learned to live quietly and carefully, squeezed into the spaces left by other people even though the hut he lived in with his stepparents actually belonged to him. He had inherited it after his father died of werewolves and his mother was carried off by elves."

As winter looms following a poor harvest, Jinx becomes an even more unwelcome child...'too much trouble and expense to raise.' His stepfather takes him out of their clearing and into the Urwald, eventually leading him off the path. A lesson for all children has been to never leave the path, and Jinx is sure they are in big trouble. Taking a winding route through the forest and away from the path, Bergthold soon has Jinx stop and plans to leave him there.  When he cannot find his own way out, he asks Jinx to help. Enter the wizard Simon who makes a deal to buy Jinx, even though he doesn't believe it when Jinx tells him he can communicate with the trees of the forest by digging his toes into the earth; and that he can see the aura that surrounds the people he meets.

His life with Simon is generally good, if a bit restricted. The food is delicious and there are few rules.
There are, however, certain rooms he is not allowed to enter. Although he is not very good at magic, Jinx begins his tutelage under Simon. As he explores his own power, he becomes disgruntled with the limits put upon him. His refusal to listen to Simon's warnings lead to adventure, and much danger.      
The world of the Urwald is complicated, and peopled with some very strange and dangerous characters. There are others, however, who become friends and help Jinx learn to deal with the path his life is taking. Elfwyn and Reven are young travelers with curses of their own, and they make caring and supportive companions for Jinx as he journeys forward. When they are captured by the Bonemaster and all seems lost, their friendship holds them in good stead. Their lives are fraught with danger and despair, but using their combined talents they are able to find resolution to their predicament. Of course, it helps that Simon is their ally.

The ending is satisfying and will lead readers to hope that we might meet them again at some later date.