Goblins by Philip Reeve
|Goblins by Philip Reeve|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: The old magic is rising, and it's up to Scarper the goblin and his human friends to save Clovenstone. Unfortunately, they're being helped (if that's the word) by some of the most useless wizards the world has ever seen.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 306||Date: April 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013
Poor Skarper. He's such a loser. In the violent and bloodthirsty goblin world where fighting and eating and taking other people's loot are all-time-favourite, number-one activities, he has a terrible handicap. He thinks. In fact, he's pretty clever, for a goblin, to the extent that he uses the goblins' bumwipe heaps for . . . reading. Yup, you heard me. Reading. The foolish hatchling works out that the black squiggles on the mouldering heaps of soft and crinkly stuff left, long ago, by the ancient inhabitants of the tower, are written words, and instead of going out raiding like any sensible goblin, he creeps off to a quiet corner to work out what they mean. Silly, eh?
Needless to say, Skarper can't keep his mouth shut about his new-found learning. Any goblin who is familiar with strange words like kindness and gazebo, is bound to slip up sooner or later. So King Knobbler does the only wise thing and catapults him off the top of Blackspike Tower. It's a long way down, and the unfortunate and soon-to-be-raspberry-jammed goblin has plenty of time to admire the scenery, and note that there are a few mistakes on the map he found at the bottom (excuse the pun) of a bumwipe heap. Of course, he manages to avoid going splat (or this would be a very short book) but instead ends up allied with a dopey lad who's got it into his head that he wants to be a hero (as opposed to a cheese-maker which is what his dad wants him to be). To do this the boy, Henwyn, has decided he must find a giant, fight it and rescue any random princess the terrible creature happens to be holding prisoner. The two companions are also joined in their exploits by some seriously incompetent wizards, and the aforementioned princess, who turns out not to be quite as willowy and helpless as Henwyn had hoped. All in all there are times, during their adventures, when Skarper wishes he'd suffered the traditional fate of those who are lobbed off the tower. It would have been quicker and a lot less painful.
Philip Reeve's books show him to be a master of the fine art of world-building, and this book is no exception. It is wry and funny, with some gloriously slapstick moments, not to mention a few disgustingly icky ones, but it is also filled with telling details which mean the reader will have no difficulty in envisaging the world which surrounds the sinister keep and the seven towers which have become the goblins' homes. It is an exciting story, full of scary creatures and dangerous situations. All the traditional elements of the heroic ballads are there, from knights and magic swords to mysterious strangers and dangerous quests, but they are twisted and distorted into wildly funny new forms, so that the whole feels fresh and vivid. The appearance of any new Philip Reeve book is an event in the book world, and this one is up there with the best of them. Don't miss it!
Another book where the wild and weird combine to provide the reader with laughs aplenty is Muddle Earth Too by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.
You can read more book reviews or buy Goblins by Philip Reeve at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Goblins by Philip Reeve at Amazon.com.
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