Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve

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Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: The goblins of Clovenstone are under attack by dwarves, and although fighting is one of their absolute favourite activities (after eating and stealing) the only-just-contained chaos of their lives means they haven't a chance against the efficient and determined underworlders. Once again Skarper the goblin and Henwyn the not-quite-a-hero are called upon to save the day.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 340 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781407134802

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Goblins are the bad guys, right? Everybody knows that. They're just like orcs and trolls: ugly, smelly, and evil through and through, with no interest in life but eating anything that moves and having a good punch up now and again (preferably both at the same time). But what if they weren't all like that? What if one of them turned out to be a tad brighter than his greedy, thieving, brawling brothers?

In the first book in this excellent series we met Skarper, a most unusual goblin. He's so odd, he even teaches himself to read so he can make out the words printed on the piles of bumwipe lying around in the seven towers of Clovenstone. Circumstances force him to team up with a human wannabe-hero, Henwyn, who has left his home and his job as a cheese-maker (much to his dad's annoyance) in order to battle giants and rescue fair princesses. Book two finds them settled back at Clovenstone, though Henwyn still dreams of adventures and Skarper still thinks his crazy human companion must be cracked in the head. After all, why go looking for trouble?

Skarper is right: trouble is not long in coming to find our friends. The dwarves have decided to drain the goblin's underground lake of slowsilver for their own ends (they want people to look up to them, which for folk under four foot tall is quite an aspiration). Unfortunately, slowsilver is the element which creates babies at Clovenstone: no more slowsilver, no more goblins. Something Must Be Done.

Oh, this book is fun! The humour is on so many levels that it is bound to appeal to a wide range of readers. There's plenty of the basic poop-and-smells-and fighting stuff, though it always has a purpose: it's not just there gratuitously to make small persons snigger (they will, mind you. Some of that stuff is seriously gross.). There's also the fun to be had by turning the traditional themes of fantasy upside-down, so the reader can never predict who's going to be a hero, and who a villain. In fact, some people manage to end up being both at different times in the story. Then there are the little drawings sprinkled throughout the book to add the general sense of cheerful mayhem: a little goblin grins at you from the corner of a page; a dwarf maiden's plait dangles delicately down the margin, and now and then a clawed hand pokes out, proving conclusively that goblins have not yet discovered the joys of a good manicure. . . add to that a plot that gallops along at high speed, involving among others daffy wizards, love-struck cloud maidens and quite a lot of ghosts, and a good read is guaranteed.

Philip Reeve is a master storyteller with a good eye for the telling detail and a wicked sense of humour. He seems incapable of writing a bad book, and this is definitely one of his best. The reader will be delighted, on turning to the last page, to see a scribbled and badly-spelled promise that the goblins will return!

It would be a pity not to read Goblins, the first book in the series, before you tackle this one. It is a wonderfully funny book in itself, and puts a lot of the story here into context.

Buy Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013.

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