Review Blog

May 10 2019

The assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780763698225.
(Age: 10-15) Highly recommended. The old-style gold embossed front cover of this novel gives a strong indication of the story to follow. The collaboration between M.T. Andersen and Eugene Yelchinhas has produced a book that harks back to an older world where goblins and elves live apart and are wary of each other.
The story opens in a manner similar to Brian Sleznick's (The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels) style where illustrations are whole chapters and tell the story visually. These Gothic style drawings feature throughout the book and are intricately woven into the story.
Brangwain Spurge is an historian elf. He has been selected to deliver a gift to the kingdom of the goblins. He believes he is a messenger of peace and agrees to stay with his host, a fellow historian, a goblin named Archivist Werfel.
At first Brangwain's superior attitude is a struggle for the friendly Werfel and gets them both into some dangerous situations due to Brangwain's total disregard and disdain of Goblin cultural and social mores.
Although set in an ancient world, the storyline has strong connections to modern politics and the 'spin' that each group or country places on events.
Both elf and goblin argue and disagree about their versions of historical events and wars but as the story unfolds a more mutual purpose exists between them and they need to work as a team to deal with treachery and danger.
There is humour and fun when these two different characters buddy up and unwittingly embark on a perilous adventure together.
The reader needs to process all the information that is presented in the novel in both illustrations and words, to discover the real truth and knows more than both of the hapless historians.
This is a wonderful story that will appeal to those who love fantasies such as Lord of the Rings.
I highly recommend this book to students aged 10 to 15 years old, but this will also appeal to fantasy genre lovers of any age.
Jane Moore

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