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The Goblin Crown: Billy Smith and the Goblins, Book 1 Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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"The characters are well-developed, believably imperfect, and multicultural (Billy himself is biracial); the plot moves briskly; and the goblin dialect―sometimes humorous, sometimes startlingly poignant―is a real strength [...] It’s a solid start to the Billy and the Goblin series."―Publishers Weekly
"Readers who fervently wish for the ability to jump into a mythical world like Middle-earth will enjoy this tale."―School Library Journal
"Wolfe, a television screenwriter, offers a story full of a surprising amount of emotional heft [...] a compelling series beginning."―Kirkus
4/5 Stars: "Robert Hewitt Wolfe’s The Goblin Crown is the start to the fantasy series, Billy Smith and the Goblins, and combines the elements of goblin culture, disasters in high school and destiny, and is layered in mythology, adventure and magic.
The Goblin Crown is sprinkled with themes and lessons from handling guilt to responsibility. Readers will relate to both the characters’ experiences and connect with the lessons learned. This is a coming of age novel that will delight readers who enjoy imaginative fantasy worlds full of suspense, adventure, and descriptive world building."―Portland Book Review
"Robert Hewitt Wolfe accomplishes something magical. He creates a Tolkienesque fantasy world for young adults that feels lived in, original and accessible. He also gives us Billy Smith - a real boy from the real world, who discovers that “not fitting in” is what makes him so special. The Goblin Crown is exciting, emotional and unflinching."―Ashley Edward Miller, co-author of Colin Fischer and co-writer of Thor and X-Men: First Class
"The Goblin Crown is the smart, morally complex version of the heroic coming-of-age story that you've been waiting for."―Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
"The Goblin Crown is a riveting, relatable, compelling journey into another realm. I found myself staying up late to read about Billy's adventures and his unlikely alliance with goblin leader Hop. Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who I know from his legendary work in the Star Trek universe, has set his sights on the fantasy genre with great success! Can't wait for more installments."―Jennifer Brody, author of The 13th Continuum
About the Author
Robert Hewitt Wolfe is the writer and Co-Executive Producer on the hit CBS mystery Elementary. Wolfe broke into television on Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing the popular episode “A Fistful of Datas.” He worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for five seasons, writing or co-writing over thirty episodes, as well as co-authoring humorous tie-in book Legends of the Ferengi. Wolfe developed the syndicated hit Andromeda from notes by Gene Roddenberry, serving as the showrunner for its first two seasons. Wolfe went on to develop The Dresden Files and help launch The 4400 and Alphas. Wolfe has also worked on The Twilight Zone, The Dead Zone, The Gates, and Star-Crossed. He has a BA in Motion Pictures/Television from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting.
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Billy, our hero, is an outsider, a kid who has NEVER felt he fit in anywhere and who certainly doesn’t expect that his high school experience is going to be any different. Billy is, a familiar enough character, but Wolfe nails him, bringing him to vivid life on the page. But pretty Filipina Lexi—who really isn’t very good at minding her own business—and bullying jock Kurt are also three-dimensional and believable people. These characters are grounded—no, rooted—in reality and we believe they act in a way that has context. (There’s a lovely, magical moment when Billy meets all the freckle-faced, redheaded men who came before him and takes courage from the encounter.
The magical creatures in this world, from Hob on down, also act out of recognizable motives and desires and dreams. This is not a book where a character is just evil “because” or “the chosen one” because that’s what’s needed to tell the story.
From the opening pages of this book, when a goblin is musing on the inevitable fate of those who are known by titles such as, “The Dark Lady,” or “The Emperor of Night,” readers will know they’re in for a rare treat—a book that honors the tropes of fantasy but with an edge of intelligent humor that never lapses into the sometimes unfortunate hijinks found in works by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.
It’s clear the author has a deep love for the genre and has put time and effort into creating the world of his story. His thoughtful epilogue about goblin naming traditions shows just how “deep” this world goes. (This is, huzzah, the first in a trilogy, so there are two more books we can look forward to with anticipation.)
This is a wonderful read and destined, I think, to become a classic.
This book is a paperback divided by chapters; seventeen total, with an epilogue. I love the cover. Not just the picture, but the way the cover feels. I’m a tactile person so I love when book covers have a special texture to them. The chapters are easy to read, flow very well, and leave you wanting to immediately turn to the next one to find out how the story continues.
“It was an image Billy knew he would remember for a long, long time. Even now, as the batreme rose into the air, Billy’s eyes remained fixed on the burnt remains of the village.” pg. 130
My Final Thoughts
I was highly entertained by the story of Billy Smith and his friends. The characters are believable and relatable. With a mix-mash of different personalities, we discover that even the popular football player has his own personal issues to deal with. The book had a great start and finish, and I can’t wait to get the second book in the series to discover what happens to the characters. They are characters that you can’t help but fall in love with along the way. Stuffed full of flying bats, goblins, magic, wizards, giants, love and honor…if you like fantasy and adventure books, you will love this! I’m happy to say I completely recommend this one.
“In the stories Billy had read, goblins had always been pretty simple. They were stupid and mean, they worked for the bad guys, they ate people. So it still surprised him whenever these goblins, his goblins, turned out to be as strange and complicated as surprising as ….well, people.” pg 165
Now, I realize this is written for a younger crowd (I am in my 60's) but this is just so charming with likeable yet complex character development, an excellent plot that is revealed with such intelligence, wit and humor that I couldn't help but like this book.
This book genuinely is a cut above all the fantasy out there and anyone of any age really owes it to themselves to crack open the covers on this one and read it. As I am writing this review I am reliving how much I liked this and maybe I should reread it NOW. Yep, it's that kind of book. Ever read a book where you thought to yourself that you would like to actually meet these characters? This is one of those. Go for it. I really think you'll like it.