Goblins, by Philip Reeve, is not your run-of-the-mill epic juvenile fantasy. In fact, it runs out of the mill, down the street, over the river and out of sight! This book is a fun fantasy adventure that pokes fun at fantasy adventures (pun intended). Readers looking for the high-brow fantasy tale will either be confused or disappointed (which I admit I was, at first), as none of the characters are classically heroic or even really all that admirable. However, those who realize that this story is a parody will get a good chuckle or two from the descriptive, witty writing and rampant irony. Reeve has captured that truly British way of being simultaneously subtle and obnoxious, with such straight-faced humor that you almost have to read the book again to really get it (I did). The characters are both annoying and entertaining in their frank imperfections, the dialogue is witty in its simplicity, and in a strangely predictable yet unpredictable way, the story comes to a satisfying end. There is even some substance to the tale, as Reeve delves into the question of how villains really become villains and the effect that power has on people–but he doesn’t go too deep, it is a parody after all. So pick up the book, let go of preconceptions, and sit down to enjoy a fun ride.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)
Violence/Gore:Several goblin brawls and battles; A character is thrown off a tower; Lightning bolts used as weapons; Backstory told of how a character’s parents were killed; one creature eats another; Character is kidnapped and home ruined; Character’s finger is cut and blood used; Creatures squashed; Characters fall off precipice into lava; Character stabbed in the back with a sword; Character jumps another. All instances are non-graphic.
Mature Subject Matter:
Battle violence, though non-graphic; Death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters drink wine before battle.