Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Book Reviews: Elliot and the Goblin War

Elliot and the Goblin War


Publisher: Sourcebooks Jaberwocky (October 1, 2010)
Print Length: 198 Pages
Format: Kindle Ebook
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Completed: December 2012
Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself Challenge, 2012 YA/MG Fantasy, 2012 Off the Shelf Challenge, 2012 Ebook Challenge


When Elliot saves a Brownie (a small creature similar to a pixie, not the girl scout variety or the yummy desert) from a Goblin attack, he sets off a series of unfortunate events, eventually leaving him holding a small crown and the title of "King of the Brownies". Elliot is just a kid.  He knows absolutely nothing about being a king, let alone, one of Brownies. Already with his own set of  problems, like not getting enough to eat or being terrorized by the school bully, this newly added responsibility wreaks even more havoc on his challenging life. When a war between the Brownies and the Goblins comes to a head, will Elliot be able to rise to the occasion and save his kingdom.  Or is this just too much to ask of an eleven year old boy?


From "Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a perpetually muddy dog. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. At one time or another she has been a high school debate coach, theater director, daycare worker, and worked at an assembly of odd jobs so insignificant they didn't even deserve job titles."


The opening scene, taking place on Halloween night, is full of action and humor, which doesn't let up throughout this fun filled adventure. With a setting in a small town and close knit community, it has a wholesome feel.  Writing is at grade level, the book is an irresistable cute, short, fun easy read.  Its told from a third person with an omniecent narrator's perspective who heeds warnings to the reader many times during the story.


Characters are fun loving, adorable and full of energy.  A few are evil, with a hint of potential to change.  A combination of real and imaginary characters stalk the pages of this book: brownies, hags and goblins, and even some real-life humans are involved in the story line.  The hero, Elliot, claims the humanitarian prize for most compassionate and thoughtful, taking the kingly duties suddenly bestowed on him very seriously. He's ingenuitive, a quick thinker and a great problem solver. All these skills prove to be invaluable when it comes resolving the war between the brownies and the goblins.


I recommend this book to readers in the age range of 8 to 12 years old looking for a fun quick read which will keep you enteratained and laughing out loud. Readers who enjoy books like The Wednesdays or The Magic of Finkleton will be very happy reading this one too.  Elliot and the Goblin War should be  especially appealing to young boys because the story is, of course, about a boy, goblins and is filled with plenty of action.  Parents will have no problem handing this one to any youngster as its a a nice clean, easy, fun read.


Reasons for picking up this book were: it completed my Off the Shelf reading challenge, it was supposed to be a quick, light, fun story and finally, because I'd heard Jennifer A. Nielsen's A False Prince was fantastic and this book was also written by her.  I can't say I was disappointed. My only issue with the book (and its only my personal problem) is the reading level is pretty much at the recommended age level. Sometimes a young reader's book will also be written in a way that potentially appeals also to adults, this for me, was not. The writing seemed too simplistic and pretty basic.

That being said, I feel like this is the perfect book for readers aged 8-12 years old. Its written at that particular reading level, with a humorous plot, that does not fail to entertain. Its short, a mere 198 pages, I think it would be difficult for readers in this age range NOT to fall in love with the story. Its filled with plenty of action along with the perfect mix of humor. Making it fun to read and easy to finish.

Elliot faces many challenges in the book, not unlike other kids his age.  He has problems to solve, some involving magical situations and others deal with real life issues: like bullies. I really enjoyed watching him puzzle through all the dilemmas he's presented.  He has a level head on his shoulders, coming to admirable and equitable solutions to all his problems, always working for the good of the greater people.  

I didn't noticed this book was the first book in a series until after I'd finished.  I happy at the way this book wrapped up. It seemed like a decent place to end, no cliffhangers, but still some loose ends which need to be tied up. So, the next couple of books should address that.


This book wasn't written in the more complex and poetic way that I prefer my middle grade reads.  It was straightforward and simplistic.  So, just from my personal 40+ year old point of view, not to take anything away from the author, I'm deducting one and a half rings.

3.5 out of 5 Rings


  1. Replies
    1. Its a cute, funny read, perfect for the target audience it was intended for. I would strongly recommend it to those readers, especially boys.

  2. I don't read much Middle grade, but this sounds so sweet! I love the idea of this boy doing this heroic thing (saving a brownie) and then becoming King of the Brownies. Very cute concept, and Elliot sounds like a great main character :)
    Ninja Girl

  3. Well, that's disappointing. I agree with you, I like my MG to read at a higher level. The False Prince definitely does. Still, it sounds like you found enjoyment with it and at so few pages and given that I own a copy...I think I'll try to pick it up at some point. Thank you for all this info!

  4. Yeah, I'm totally with you: I do like to read MG, but I only really like it if it's not explicitly written just for that age group. A higher level of writing would really set it apart. I didn't know Jennifer Nielsen had written any other books - at any rate, I think I'll read False Prince instead. Thanks for the review, Gina!


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