The Goblin Crown

1 MP3-CD. 9 hrs. Brilliance. 2016. ISBN 978–1–5366–7357–9. $9.99.
Gr 7 Up—Billy Smith, a biracial teen who has never seemed to fit in at any of the many schools he has attended, gets off to another bad start at his new school when he accidentally spills spaghetti on the star quarterback, Kurt. Fellow freshman Lexi attempts to smooth things over but ends up also earning the jock's wrath, leading to an after-school altercation. In trying to get an injured Lexi away from Kurt, Billy mysteriously transports all three to a world populated by goblins in the midst of a war against the neighboring humans, the Hanorians. A group of rogue goblins, led by the pragmatic Hop, believe one of the teens is the next Goblin King, and set out to defeat the war-mongering General Sawtooth and put the rightful ruler on the throne. This series opener is solidly narrated by Corey Gagne, who ably voices a large cast of characters both human and goblin. Gagne's navigation of the goblin's unique dialect is particularly well done. The narrative perspective likewise shifts among the main characters, including the antagonist, General Sawtooth, and each is given some degree of backstory amid a healthy dose of action.
VERDICT While no radically new ground is broken, fans of fantasy series such as "Gregor the Overlander" may find a new world to inhabit with Billy, Hop, and their friends. ["While the world-building is sound and intriguing, the many characters feel stereotypical, bordering on stock. Voracious fantasy readers will tear through and probably enjoy this novel, but don't expect it to be in high demand": SLJ 8/16 review of the Turner book.]

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