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

“Elf and Goblin, we all have pointy ears.”

Elfin historian Brangwain Spurge has been tasked with delivering a peace offering to the goblin king. With the precious artifact in hand, Spurge is catapulted over the mountains into goblin territory. His learned goblin counterpart Werfel the Archivist is waiting anxiously to receive his most honorable guest. What ensues is a diplomatic mission you will not soon forget.

While waiting to be seen by the goblin king, the two scholars engage in a trading of cultures… sometimes not such an even transaction.  And because there has only been five years of peace since the great war between the races, wounds are fresh and interpretations of the facts are not always clear.  Two views of history, two lowly civil servants carefully watched by the diplomatic corps of each country. Spurge and Werfel soon get caught up in an international scandal and begin to tumble and bumble away from their pursuers…  and unfortunately, the original mission.

The slapstick, the farce, and the ludicrous fun is depicted in alternating chapters of Anderson’s prose and Yelchin’s illustrations. The vivid details of the world’s inhabitants, animals, magic, and cultures are terribly amusing, but what makes this story unforgettable is the repartee between the main characters. Their comedic misunderstandings, and continuous back and forth are indicative of larger issues we witness every day in our lives and our politics. The authors have written a book with great depth. Peel away the goblin skins (yes, they shed them every couple years) and you will find something great.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge takes me back to the whimsy and invention of classics like The Phantom Tollbooth, Willy Wonky, and The Yellow Submarine. A comedy of etiquette errors, of historical hilarities… it’s been a long time since I genuinely laughed out loud while reading a book. I might have snorted once or twice (no witnesses). It’s easy for me to say that Yeltsin’s iconic art style and Anderson’s wit make this one an instant classic in YA fantasy literature.

Sample the artwork and see some fun banter between the authors in the book trailer here.

5 out of 5 stars

Releases on September 25th.

Thank you to NetGalley, Candlewick Press, and the authors for the advanced copy for review.

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