CYBILS FINALIST: Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton


Brimming with dragons, goblins, and logic puzzles, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Princess Bride or Rump.

THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny.
THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted.
PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon.
And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped.

All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.


I wasn't a real fan of this book at first.  The story just didn't appeal to me much.  But as I got further into the story, especially the part where the boy meets the goblin, I become more interested.  And as the characters and their various problems started coming together I became curious as to how things would work out.  I found the boy an especially interesting character with his solid belief in the stories he'd heard his whole life and his supposed acceptance of fate.  I was intrigued watching the boy change in his beliefs and desires as he started making choices for himself, as he learned what freedom felt like.  And the two Alices were such an interesting contrast to each other.  After reading what the king thought of his daughter (Princess Alice), I kind of had an idea of what she would be like, and she was to some degree (as she had been taught to be), but she surprised me to.  And Plain Alice (soon to become Just Alice) was as amusing as she was bossy.  As for the goblin and his 'puzzle', he was the enigma throughout the whole book.  It was hard to guess just what the goblin's motives were, and even at the end it wasn't altogether clear, although I have my own inferences about what happens.  I can safely say that this is quite an unusual book, especially the logic puzzles part of it. 


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