Author(s): M. T. Anderson
Long-Listed for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Subverting convention, award-winning creators M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin pair up for an anarchic, outlandish, and deeply political saga of warring elf and goblin kingdoms.
Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom -- from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years.
Brangwain's host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them -- and war for their nations.
Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain's furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel's determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story.
A hilarious and biting social commentary that could only come from the likes of National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson and Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin, this tale is rife with thrilling action and visual humor . . . and a comic disparity that suggests the ultimate victor in a war is perhaps not who won the battles, but who gets to write the history.
When scrawny Elfin archivist Brangwain (The Weed) Spurge is catapulted into the Kingdom of the Goblins on a peace mission, he has no idea that the giant goblin gemstone he is to present to the king will set him on a mission of subterfuge, double crossings and cultural misunderstandings.
As a guest of the goblins, he’s rude, monosyllabic and secretive in spite of the best intentions of his host, archivist Werfel.
But will these two manage to overcome their distrust of each other as they are forced to flee into the mountains after Weedy is outed as a spy?
M T Anderson (Feed; The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing; Landscape with Invisible Hand) is a master of satire and he does not disappoint with this biting commentary on political shenanigans. In the vein of Brian Selznick’s Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, much of the second story is told in a series of wry illustrations by Eugene Yelchin.
The story is sniggeringly funny. The descriptions of the grotesque and disgusting goblin habits contrast beautifully with the aloof, snobby and disparaging attitude of “Weedy” Spurge. The characters are superbly drawn and the sarcastic dialogue between Weedy and Werfel is a treat to read.
A handsomely packaged hardback edition with a red cloth cover, Brangwain Spurge is highly recommended for age 11 plus.