Cover image for Happenstance found
Title:
Happenstance found
Author:
Catanese, P. W.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Aladdin hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Aladdin, [2009]

©2009
Physical Description:
342 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Summary:
A boy awakens, blindfolded, with no memory of even his name, but soon meets Lord Umber, an adventurer and inventor, who calls him Happenstance and tells him that he has a very important destiny--and a powerful enemy.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
008-012.

NC 700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 10.0 129348.
ISBN:
9781416975199
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

Twelve-year-old Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Soon a mysterious trio arrives to take him away: the explorer Umber, the shy archer Sophie, and Oates, whose strength and honesty are both brutal. Hap and his new acquaintances narrowly escape the cavernous underworld and make their way to Lord Umber's bustling jewel of a harbor city, Kurahaven.

Once there, Hap learns that Lord Umber is an extraordinary man -- he's a merchant, adventurer, inventor, royal adviser, and chronicler of all things monstrous and magical. But Umber's accomplishments can't answer the question closest to the boy's heart: Who is Happenstance?

Desperate to uncover clues in his new, baffling surroundings, Hap accompanies Umber on dangerous and unusual missions. But Hap soon learns that there are powerful enemies inside the kingdom, and a ruthless assassin is hot on his trail. Faced with many unknowns, Hap knows one thing is certain: There's a reason Umber has chosen him...if only he could determine it.

P. W. Catanese's richly spun fantasy chronicles one boy's quest for answers and hope in a world riddled by knowledge and power corrupted.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Happenstance wakes suddenly in a dark corner of a crumbling maze, blindfolded and bound, and realizes he has no memories. He is retrieved by Lord Umber, a collector of rarities, who has too many memories of a life to which he cannot return and to which he is bound by tragedy. Umber has been told that Hap is the key to saving a dying Earth, but only if they can keep him alive long enough to discover how. In this new series, The Books of Umber, Catonese departs from the fairy-tale retellings of his Further Adventures series to create an intriguing intergenerational partnership set in a fantasy world that tantalizes with glimpses of modern-day technology. Chapters are introduced by snippets from Umber's notebooks and small drawings of the characters, which include a hook-handed illustrator/archer, a gruesome villain, and a boat-bearing whale. Try this with fans of Eragon (2003) or Jeanne DuPrau's Ember books, or readers seeking an engaging and deftly written fantasy unpopulated by vampires or fairies.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2009 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Catanese (the Further Tales Adventures) dazzles in the first of the planned Books of Umber series by wittily subverting genre tropes. Happenstance, a boy with strange green eyes, wakes up in a cave with no memories of who he is or anything about the fantastic world in which he lives. He soon encounters Lord Umber, an adventurer who seems familiar with our world as well as his own, and his two companions-a brute cursed to be forever truthful and a one-handed artist and archer. En route to Umber's home, they discover that Hap can see in the dark, leap many feet in the air, speak numerous languages and go without sleep. As the group attempts to learn about his origins, they're forced to confront a supernatural assassin and secrets from Umber's own mysterious past. Catanese packs a lot into the book: rich characterizations (Umber, who turns out to be from another dimension, suffers from depression and wishes he had his meds), well-choreographed action sequences and genuinely surprising twists at the end. As auspicious start to the series. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-The first book (Aladdin, 2009) in a new fantasy series by P.W. Catanese features a compelling cast of characters. The tale unfolds as Happenstance opens his eyes to darkness, both physical and within his mind. Unaware of who he is, where he is, or what he's doing there, the boy encounters three people who are exploring the surrounding caves. Their leader, Lord Umber, records the world's wonders in his books, and has taken his two companions on a dangerous mission to hunt for giant worms that are supposed to inhabit the caves. In addition to a worm, they find the boy. The group must evacuate the caves before the giant worm catches them. Their narrow escape is just the beginning of new friendships, adventures, and danger. During their travels, Hap learns about the world around him and discovers that he has unique abilities. Lord Umber is also keeping secrets from those around him, and when the two make and share discoveries about themselves and each other, Hap begins to learn about his past and discern his purpose in life. Narrator Richard Poe does an excellent job voicing all the nuances of a caring, bewildered boy. Each character's voice is easily distinguished by tone and cadence. An excellent first title in the projected series.-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.