The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice
By Andrew S. Chilton
Published January 19, 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Reviewed from e-ARC
Boy has only known life as a slave, but when he meets a goblin, he begins to question his Destiny. And Plain Alice has been mistakenly kidnapped by a dragon who thinks she's the Princess Alice. Their paths will cross and change them all forever.
I admit that the intriguingly long title is what caught my eye about this one. What I liked most about this one was the use of logic puzzles. I think books that include puzzles like that are endlessly appealing to kids - it's why I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society so many years ago. I liked that this one tackled logic instead of more traditional puzzles; it was a really intriguing way to look at the problem. I also appreciated the Alices - I liked them both quite a bit and I think they were given equal time as Boy.
What I liked less about this was the application of the logic to the existence of slaves. Something about the whole thing just didn't sit well with me. It felt like they were saying logically, owning slaves is wrong, but practically, maybe not. I'm sure that wasn't the intent, but it just felt off.
This has enough action to keep readers turning the pages, but it is at its heart a pretty standard fantasy quest novel.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.