cover image Boots and the Seven Leaguers: A Rock-And-Troll Novel

Boots and the Seven Leaguers: A Rock-And-Troll Novel

Jane Yolen. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202557-1

Yolen's (Wizard's Hall) plodding tale reads more like a farce than a fantasy. Narrator Gog, a young troll, is dismayed not to have a ticket to hear his favorite band, Boots and the Seven Leaguers, perform their annual concert in the Kingdom of the Fey. So Gog and his best friend, Pook--a ""tricksy"" pookah who can change shapes--travel to the site of the concert and disguise themselves as roadies to help the band unload and set up in exchange for tickets. During setup, Magog, Gog's little brother, disappears. The duo's search for Magog takes them deep into the dread New Forest, where Gog loses Pook and encounters a number of characters, including the Weed King, who speaks in rhyme; a ""woodwife,"" a hollow woman who tries to snare him in her ""spell of love""; and the Huntsman, who holds captive a bizarre creature known as the Great White Wyrm--as well as Magog. Young readers may well lose their way--or interest--trying to follow Gog's meandering, choppy first-person narrative. After rescuing his sibling, Gog says he can't go home yet, ""Because, in my slow troll way, I'd finally figured out that there were still too many loose ends."" Readers, too, may find that many strands of the plot still dangle at the close of this disjointed tale. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)