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.
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 EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved