The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice

Andrew Chilton, illus. by Jensine Eckwall. Knopf, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-52070-5
Debut author Chilton combines the unpredictability of a Monty Python skit with traces of the Brothers Grimm as he zigzags among the stories of an unnamed young slave, who escapes his master and soon becomes tied to a mischievous goblin; Plain Alice, the daughter of a sage desperate to follow in her father’s footsteps; and Princess Alice, slated to rule West Stanhope if she can elude both a dragon and marriage to the treacherous Duke Geoffrey. The characters, hailing from the Middle Eastern–inspired High Albemarle and the medievalesque Middlebury, learn that only logic and bravery will thwart dangerous foes, such as a princess-eating ogre, as they make their way from the dragon’s lair to Princess Alice’s home. Threaded between daring adventures and rhetorical arguments is the unnamed boy’s dilemma over his fate. Is he “truly and justly a slave?” Or does he have the power, as the goblin Mennofar suggests, to make his own fate? Filled with quick-witted asides and engaging characters, Chilton’s novel is sure to please readers looking for a fresh spin on cherished fairy tale conventions. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Pam Howell, D4EO Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 01/19/2016
Library Binding - 288 pages - 978-0-553-52071-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-553-52073-6
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