Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Book Review: Goblins
Readers of this blog will know there are only two fiction authors I obsessively consume whatever new books they release, Christa Faust and Philip Reeve. They couldn’t be much different. Goblins is Reeve’s latest (in the States), and this time he’s taken on classic children’s Fantasy. From early on, I was reminded of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series. But as it’s Reeve, he takes your preconceptions and turns them on their head on more than one occasion.
The basic idea couldn’t be much more typical of the genre. Henwyn, a restless young boy who wants to be a hero, goes on a journey to rescue a princess from the ruined lair of an evil old wizard. But of course, that’s only the surface. Things aren’t nearly as they seem, from the princess to the goblin Skarper, to the boy himself.
Kids just getting into reading, with a fancy for the fanciful, should find this book very readable and lots of fun. It also has some good lessons on expectations, the twists life throws us, and the importance of friendships of all sorts. There’s also a bunch of cheeky potty humor that kids will no doubt find very amusing. The goblins alone provide plenty of fun goofiness, tainted with some dark danger.
Though this isn’t my favorite Philip Reeve book, mostly because its classic (generic sounds harsher than I mean it, but kind of sums it up) Fantasy setting is simply something I’m not especially interested in. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and other Medieval European substitute settings, for example. But I always find his books a pleasure to read.
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic Press