Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 530
A Masterpiece
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Brangwain Spurge is an elfin historian on a mission: he's tasked with delivering a gift to the king of the goblins, and he's hoping to be the first elf to safely return from the goblin kingdom in over 100 years. His goblin host during the visit, Werfel, is a warm-hearted archivist, and Werfel takes his role as caretaker to the elf quite seriously.

As Werfel makes every attempt to expose Spurge to the finest aspects of goblin culture, Spurge responds by treating the goblins he meets with disdain and annoyance. Spurge is, in short, an elitist snob. As the two navigate their obligations to each other and to their communities, Spurge and Werfel both make choices that lead to many exciting moments.

THE ASSASSINATION OF BRANGWAIN SPURGE tells the amazing adventure of Werfel and Spurge through letters (from an elfin master spy to his king), pictures (Spurge's communications home during his travels), and the narrative (largely from Werfel's point of view). Although the combination could be a confusing way to relay a story, M.T. Anderson and Eugen Yelchin manage it masterfully, and BRANGWAIN SPURGE is a thoughtful adventure tale that challenges readers to think about the perils of incomplete/bad information and stereotypes. The beauty of the book is that it offers these important life lessons in an effortless manner that is both exciting and fun.

This book would be an excellent addition to any middle grade classroom, and I hope teachers and librarians work hard to get it into the hands of readers. It's the perfect combination of a book that allows for important conversations while being a truly entertaining tale.

My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Good Points
Covers important subject matter in a fun manner
Great illustrations that perfectly suit the text
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