Omnibus Books (imprint of Scholastic Australia)
Target audience: Stage 2/3 Primary
Category: Junior Fiction / Fantasy / Adventure
So you’ve all read Grim and Grimmer Book 1 (The Headless Highwayman), right? If not, please lean a little closer to the screen while I smack you upside the head. I mean, what’s everybody else supposed to do while I get you up to speed, hmm? Twiddle their thumbs? I think not, we’re not all in the Public Service you know! So go on, off you go. And don’t come back without it! Otherwise, how will you know who Ike is? Or why he needed to help rescue a princess? Or why said rescued princess is still so cranky? Or why he is travelling with a carnivorous horse that smells suspiciously of onions? Or, indeed, why he pays any attention whatsoever to a leader who talks out of his bum? We’ll all be talking about you while you’re gone, so make it quick.
Right – finally – so, where were we? That’s right, The Grasping Goblin. Another fantastic story, by the way, incase you couldn’t wait to get to the end of this review before rushing out to buy it. Ok, plot (the expurgated version): Grimmery needs a Queen. In fact, if it doesn’t get one in the next 30 days, armies loyal to the evil Fey Queen Emajica will overrun Grimmery, seize control, and enslave all its inhabitants. Not – I’m sure you would agree – a very desirable outcome. So it was fortuitous, to say the least, that in Book 1 Ike and Mellie were able to rescue the necessary princess from Emajica’s clutches. The downside though, was that in doing so they sorta-kinda misplaced the Book of Grimmery as they made their escape through a Troll-bum door (which, as you could well imagine, was no picnic – but try explaining that to a snooty little princess). As Fate would have it, without the Book of Grimmery (which is not your average novel) the princess cannot be crowned. And if the princess cannot be crowned, well … then we’re back to the whole unpleasant occupation and slavery scenario. So, The Grasping Goblin is all about Ike and Mellie’s quest to locate the Book of Grimmery.
Luckily for us readers though, locating the Book of Grimmery it isn’t as simple as going to the nearest library and trying to make sense of their indexing system. In fact, Queen Emajica has gone so far as to hide it with a powerful spell. For anybody who thought tracking down the book and the spell used to hide it is going to be a walk in the park, let me quote from Chapter 16:
“The ridge was at its narrowest here; any stumble would send him over the edge to a death far worse than his last one.”
Yes, apart from learning why not to play with frozen lightning, on his quest to locate the book, Ike (a) chows down on some maggot soup, (b) gets turned into a Night-Gaunt, (c) goes blind, and (d) moons everybody in Grimmery as he is carried by a demon, upside down, halfway across Wychwold with his bum hanging out a bloody great hole in his trousers. And you think you’ve had bad days!
Yes, like the many that have gone before, The Grasping Goblin is destined to become another successful and highly acclaimed Ian Irvine classic. Another fast paced, captivating yarn that is bound to have kids chuckling into their hot chocolates (and perhaps snorting some out of their noses). I’m sure that Ian’s style of character development is one that kids will easily relate to and subconsciously draw from. A warning for the squeamish though – this story does contain smooching; admittedly though, not enough to hold the attention of a hopeless romantic. The best part though is that you don’t need to be sad when this one is over, because there’s still another two in the series to read! So why are you still sitting there? Go out and buy it already!
A Bug in a Book recommended review by Scott Chambers.
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