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The Goblin Wood Hardcover – April 15, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060513713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060513719
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Fantasy and intrigue blend in a mythical medieval land where good and evil are not always clearly distinguishable. When the story opens, 12-year-old Makenna has just witnessed the murder of her mother, the local hedgewitch, by decree of a priest of the Hierarch, aided by the villagers whom Makenna's mother had always helped. Angry and bitter, the grieving girl seeks revenge on the village and runs away into the woods, where she encounters and befriends the goblins-a small, magical race of people who are being systematically exterminated by the Hierarch. Advance five years to another part of the Hierarch's territory and meet Tobin, a knight who takes the blame for his younger brother's role in an attempted coup. Tobin will be allowed to redeem himself by capturing the sorceress who has aligned herself with the goblins. This, of course, is Makenna. When the two young people meet, they discover that the world around them cannot be viewed as all good or all bad and together they attempt to provide a safe haven for both humans and goblins. Fantasy novels for young people do not often explore the gray areas, which makes for some interesting and thought-provoking reading here. However, Bell provides few transitions between times and places, making it difficult to discern what has happened and where readers are in this mythical world. This lack of transition detracts from an otherwise promising political fantasy.
Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. After her mother is drowned as a sorceress, young hedgewitch Makenna flees into the woodlands. While there, she accidentally antagonizes some goblins, who plague her until she captures one, Cogswhallop, and inadvertently puts him in her debt. As she travels with Cogswhallop, she learns goblin rules about repaying a favor, and she soon finds herself united with goblins in a battle against the ruling Hierarchy, bent on eradicating all magical creatures. Five years later, a young knight comes to Goblin Wood to trap a powerful human sorceress who is thought to lead an army of enslaved goblins. By this time, Makenna has become a strategist par excellence and the Hierarchy's greatest threat. Leavened by humor and a dollop of romance, this well-crafted fantasy adventure demonstrates Bell's talent for creating enduring characters and worlds. It also has a cliffhanger ending that begs a sequel. The author of A Matter of Profit (2001) comes through again. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Me the writer--a loose, not-really-biography of Hilari Bell.

A lot of writers will tell you that they've been writers from the time they were children--well, I'm not one of those people. I was always a reader. There's nothing better than falling into the world of a book and just living there till the story's over...and even then, it stays in your head and heart. At least, the best ones do. But writing came a lot later, in school assignments--which I enjoyed, but still, assignments. Homework no less.

I started writing seriously when I first got out of library school. I'd been reading picture books preparing to do storytimes, and I thought, "Picture books. They're short. They're for little kids. How hard could it be?" Several years and dozens of unsold--and unsalable--picture books later I'd found out how hard they could be! Picture books are harder to write (a good one, anyway) than anything except poetry. And they're harder to sell than anything but poetry, too.

One of the things I've learned about writing over the years is to never say never, because whenever I've said "I will never write XYZ" within a few years I end up writing it. Some true examples: I could never write a novel. I could never write a young adult novel. I could never write science fiction. I could never write an adult novel. I could never make those books a romance. (OK, so I haven't actually made them into a romance, but a lot more romantic elements are creeping into my writing.) I should probably say, I could never write a best seller, just to see what would happen... Hmm. I could never write a best seller!

OK, Murphy's Law being what it is, that probably won't work. If for no other reason than that, primarily, I write for me. This is something I probably shouldn't admit, but I don't really care that much about my audience. (Sorry, audience.) I write the books I want to read. I tell the stories that I want to tell. And I write to make the story the best it can be...because the story is what I care about it. I love it when other people care about my stories too, but that's not my primary motivation. Which is the other reason "I could never write a best seller."

(I know it probably won't work--but it doesn't hurt to try, now does it?)


Customer Reviews

Hilari Bell did an excellent job of creating a book that was fast paced and witty.
This book really show you how it was like to have something in the middle, when everything has its own right and wrong.
Spy Groove
If you love any type of fantasy, I can guarantee that you'll at least enjoy reading it once.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By guitarchick24 VINE VOICE on October 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hillari Bell is a master of character twists. By that I mean that her characters aren't obvious - good people can be bad guys, it just depends on your perspective.

"The Goblin Wood" is a good example of perspective and how it depends on where you stand to justify what you believe. At first glance, it doesn't seem right that the humans are trying to eradicate the goblins from the forest... But when you get the bigger picture, you understand the reasons why, even if you don't agree with the method to get there.

I suppose a simpler, happy ending to the story would have been if everyone could have come to some sort of peaceful compromise... but then again, people who are different from each other don't always stop to chat first, do they?

I have to wonder, from the ending of the book, if Bell plans on doing a sequel. It fairly screams, "What happens next?"

Overall, a great book that will linger in your mind long after you've finished it.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on June 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"...As I returned across the fields I'd known
I recognized the walls that I once made
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid..."
Tobin, though innocent, has pled guilty to treason, sacrificing his own honor and future in order to protect the life of his little brother. Disinherited and disgraced, Tobin is offered an opportunity for regaining his good name and, at the same time, saving the people of the Realm:
" 'If I bring down their leader, what will the goblins do?'
" 'If they were human, they'd probably thank you. But goblins are completely mercenary--they never do anything except for payment, or to avoid punishment. Once her hold over them is broken, they'll probably just run off...'
"Tobin drew a deep breath, his gaze wandering over the map, chest, stone, and charm. 'Isn't there any other way?'
"Master Lazur shook his head. 'The barbarians are coming. We have no place to go except north. They have no place to come except here. There is nothing in this world I would not sacrifice to get the Bright Realm behind the goblin wall in time. How high do you weigh the life of a sorceress, one who has killed again and again, against the survival of this whole realm?'
"Tobin's finger traced the river curve that marked his home. He couldn't imagine living in the woodlands, but he'd seen the barbarian armies for himself. Master Lazer was silent, letting him figure it out. Tobin didn't like it, but surely the priest was right. How many knights, men Tobin knew and respected, had already died? If it would end the war, save the whole realm, then the life of one sorceress was a cheap price to pay."
But we know that "sorceress" whom he's being asked to "eliminate" is the young hedgewitch Makenna.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Spy Groove on October 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I can not say what exactly makes this book different from any fantasy I've ever read. The description was vivid, even the tiniest details of reaction/thought which are usually not mentioned in this kind of story, can take you back to reality but somehow managed to keep your environment with the goblins which sound a bit odd to you maybe but it happened to me.

Maybe the way Ms. Bell building her character and situation that was easily accepted and consistent throughout the book. The politics reasons in conflict with the goblins' was so well developed that you can not just say right or wrong about each side. This book really show you how it was like to have something in the middle, when everything has its own right and wrong. Yet all was told in not-so-flourish language.

Although I think the way out for the ending was a bit too coincidental (because I feel it was too simple but again maybe I wouldn't like it better any other way) , the last chapter brought a lot more feeling to the whole story. My eyes just soaked a bit with a big smile on my face after reading the last word.

What a gem. I simply love it :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By small review on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book opens with a story most fantasy readers have heard before: magic users are being persecuted by the local religious leaders who are bent on turning the people away from the "old ways" of magic and toward the new ordered world of the religious leaders. In this story, the religious users are actually magic-users themselves, but the gist of the story is the same. Makenna is a local hedgewitch whose mother was murdered by the religious leaders and who has since fled into the Goblin Wood. There she teams up with a band of goblins and leads a guerrilla war against the religious leaders attempting to move into the Goblin Wood.

The alternative viewpoint is told through the narration of Tobin, a knight fallen from grace after he took the blame for his brother's involvement in a plot to overthrow the current leaders. As part of his penance, Tobin is tasked with planting a device in the Goblin Wood that would allow the leaders to break Makenna's stronghold. Tobin sets out willingly, but as he gets to know Makenna and the goblins and learns of their plight, Tobin's loyalties begin to waver.

What makes The Goblin Wood stand out from all of the other similarly plotted tales is the fact that no character is all good or all bad. The religious leaders are not skulking and power-mad villains. Their motives are as legitimate as Makenna's. Likewise, the actions taken on both sides are equally good and bad. There are no clear cut villains or heroes in this story, though Tobin is the closest to a pure hero as his actions are the closest to being morally right and consistent.

While the morally ambiguous characters are interesting, they are less easy to like. I found Makenna irritating and the least sympathetic character in the book.
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