Evil, bloodthirsty creatures and three misfit children on a quest. Anthropology lecturer Matthew Jobin’s The Nethergrim delivers young readers into a creepy but plausible world.
The world of The Nethergrim (Puffin Books) teems with vicious, bloodthirsty, otherworldly creatures. When attacked, they ooze thick blue-black liquid. Hunger—ceaselessly gnawing in their bellies—drives them to ravage the land. They pause only in the presence of greater evil. This fantasy tale for young readers, by SCU anthropology lecturer Matthew Jobin, pivots on harrowing decisions that have both short-term impact and long-term consequences. The story’s heroes are three children seen as misfits by their village: a girl too tall and tomboyish; a boy too short and scholarly for a village that doesn’t value literacy; and a mistreated slave boy. Following the disappearances of other children from the village, they go on a mission to find them and instead uncover what history has distorted. Jobin says the idea for the tale came to him as a young boy exploring the forest surrounding his home in Toronto. He studied linguistics and mythology to create the unique but plausible fantasy world. For title alone, he says, he consulted the dictionaries of five dead languages. He wanted a blend of ancient and familiar.