Yesterday I read Goblins by Philip Reeve. I had read Reeve's No Such Thing as Dragons last year, so I was glad to see another fantasy title by him. The characters were entertaining and the variety of different kinds of characters kept things interesting. Who wouldn't be amused by the son of a cheese maker who decides he wants to be an epic hero? Or a goblin king who wears pink frilly flannel underwear?
The story shakes up the usual ideas of good guys and bad guys. Would you rather trust a goblin who has taught himself to read, or sorcerers who sell fake potions to earn traveling money? (I know which one I would pick.) I liked the way it pointed out some common flaws that are usually overlooked by adventurers in this type of story. For instance, when they decide to go rescue the princess that all the songs say has been kidnapped by a giant - why don't any of them stop and think how long that song has been around? If the song has been around their whole lives, wouldn't the princess be old enough to be the hero's mother by now?
In a way, the characters were a bit like those in Star Wars. Henwyn reminds me of Luke Skywalker as described by Yoda. His mind is never on what he is doing. He is always busy imagining great quests or wishing for excitement. Princess Eluned is the wiser, more experienced one, someone like Leia who has seen more than just the family farm. And I suppose the Lych Lord could be the emperor with his dark powers and attempts to have Henwyn follow in his footsteps. Skarper would make a good Lando Calrissian, with his love of treasure and his occasional good deeds. Hmmm, I wonder if Mr. Reeve is a Star Wars fan?
Readers who like fantasy stories like No Such Thing as Dragons, Redwall, or Inkheart will probably enjoy Goblins. The author has his own website if you would like to find out more about him and his books.
I read an e-book version provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The hardcover book will be released by Scholastic on August 27, 2013. Update - I picked up a copy at the bookstore over fall break and now we have it in the library.