by Anne Hamilton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Children’s
Robertina, or Robby, is in a quandary. Her group school project with partners Neil and Stephen is due and neither boy is stepping up to help. Stephen is a bully and Neil is just plain weird. Robby’s fears that Stephen will harm their odd third partner are put aside when Stephen disappears. In her quest to discover what happened to him, Robby stumbles into a confusing and fantastic realm. Neil isn’t a human boy after all, but part of this bizarre place, and Stephen followed him there only to be trapped in an “immurement”. Tossed into the reality-bending land of the Goblins along with Stephen’s step-brother Chris, they become entangled in a centuries- old conflict between elves and Goblins and are forced to grow more involved in order to free the trapped Stephen. Is the Goblin King being helpful or causing trouble? Can they trust anyone? Why can the penguin Artemys fly–and talk? Can they save Stephen, even if he doesn’t deserve it, and go home? Will they want to leave?
Anne has crafted a fantastic and engaging adventure! She mixes a delightful concoction of fantasy, physics, mythology, and philosophy. The detail of the story was just amazing, with humorous and clever layers upon layers. I felt the natural affection the characters formed for one another through trials of confusing politics and deadly peril.
I really wanted to share this story with my kids, but for an 8-year-old and an impatient 11-year-old, it wasn’t simple-spoken enough even when I read aloud. This is really a Young Adult novel. The publisher has classified it as childrens’ fiction for some reason, but it is really more age-appropriate for young adults. The words were complex and too rich for younger readers to easily comprehend. I do know a 10-year-old with a college reading level for whom this might be perfect, though! I’ll put in a comment when I’ve gotten it to her. Her mom is always looking for reading-level-appropriate material that isn’t too adult.
As an adult who enjoys young adult and even children’s fiction, this book was wholly enjoyable. It exercised my brain while I enjoyed it too. It really was so well-packed that I could read it a few more times and still discover new things. Maybe I will if my friend’s little girl will ever let me have it back once she’s gotten her hands on it.
Buy it here: http://www.manycoloured.com/book.html
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