The Children’s Book Review | October 31, 2016
Written by Andrew S. Chilton
Age Range: 8-12
Hardback: 288 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
What to expect: Adventure, friendship, puzzles, fantasy
In this fun twist on the questing adventure, a boy with no name must solve a series of puzzles to save a girl named Alice from a not-so-terrible dragon. The boy with no name is a slave for a terrible rich master. The boy runs away and begins an adventure across the countryside in true Tolkien fashion. When he’s almost captured by slavers again, a secretive goblin saves him.
A plain girl named Alice is too smart for her own good. And when a confused dragon for ransom carries her off, she puts her smarts to the test to try and escape.
Princess Alice, on the other hand, wants to marry for love. She’s the girl who was supposed to be carried off by the dragon, but life’s about to get complicated for the unlucky princess.
There’s a plot to take over the Kingdom, and the boy with no name is quickly pulled in to help. The blind dragon was told to kidnap Alice – problem is, he kidnapped a girl named Alice, not the Princess Alice. Plain Alice’s humble father asks the boy to rescue her, thus giving him a chance to earn real honor and make a new life for himself. And even though Princess Alice has yet to be carried off by the dragon, there is more drama in store for her. A despicable Duke wants to marry her to coerce the King in to granting him the Kingdom. The two Alice’s and the boy are thrown together into an adventure, and time is running out. Can the boy solve the riddles of the goblin to save himself and two girls named Alice?
Silly monsters, fun logic puzzles and bravery makes this story an exciting and low-stress adventure for young tweens. There’s plenty of questing, figuring out puzzles, and friendship. I really appreciated how the adventure wasn’t too bloody or brutal, which makes it perfect for younger readers. Kids will get a kick out of the more philosophical riddles and try to figure them out themselves, and Plain Alice has a distinctly Hermione-ish quality that bookish youngsters will really respond to. Even Princess Alice isn’t all she seems, and will surprise with her cleverness.
Recommended for middle-school aged kids.
About Andrew S. Chilton
Andrew S. Chilton drew inspiration for The Goblin’s Puzzle from a wide variety of sources, ranging from The Hobbit to Monty Python to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. As a kid, he gobbled up fantasy novels and logic puzzles, and as an adult, he spent over ten years as a practicing lawyer before launching his career as a writer. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
The Goblin’s Puzzle, written by Andrew S. Chilton, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like The Goblin’s Puzzle by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Adventure, Andrew S. Chilton, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade Books, and Puzzles.
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