Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, by Ben Hatke (FirstSecond September 2017) is the second half of an adventure begun last year in Mighty Jack. It is even more exciting and stirring an adventure than the first, and though it could be read on its own, there's no earthly reason not to enjoy both books back to back.  Especially since the first book ends on a cliff hanger, with Jack's little sister Maddy being kidnapped by a giant.

The second book starts with Jack and his friend Lilly climb up a magical vine to rescue Maddy.  They have with them some magical seeds that give them a considerable boost in size and strength, but no particular plan, other than "pursue giant and save Maddy."  Lilly is injured battling the guardian of the bridge into the giant's realm, and when the stalk she's holding onto breaks, she falls onto a platform below the path Jack must take to follow the giant.  She urges Jack to go on without her, and reluctantly he does, finding himself faced with an castle that's sealed tightly shut.

So pretty dire straights....

But the giants aren't the only ones up in the beanstalk land.  At the castle, Jack is helped by little sewer creatures, and makes it inside, though he is no match for the giants planning on eating Maddie. Fortunatly, Lilly has been rescued by goblins, and healed with a taste of goblin blood (not her choice of medicine, but she wasn't given one!).  Though the goblins are friendly, and the little goblins cute, the goblin king has unpleasant plans for her.  Lilly is no passive damsel in distress, though, and in a brave fight she foils him and take his place as king, and sets off with her goblin followers to the rescue!

It continues to be somewhat touch and go, but the kids get home safely in the end.

All of Ben Hatke's books are bright and vibrant and full of exciting adventures vividly portrayed, with characters to love and cheer for, and this is no exception!  The stakes are high, but Jack and Lilly rise to the challenge most beautifully.  Both have their battles, both internal and external, and both emerge victorious.  This is the perfect series to give the kid who likes to swing a sword around, chopping imaginary monsters (or the now somewhat older middle grade kid who doesn't do that anymore but still won't let you give the swords away).  Even if they aren't avid readers they'll be drawn in to the adventure and the pages will turn very nicely indeed.

And in a special treat for Hatke's fans, the end of the book promises an even more magical set of adventures to come with familiar friends from the Zita the Spacegirl books!

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like the kind of book that will be very popular with young middle-graders. Thanks for the review.


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