Book Rating (Middle Grade Rating): ★★★☆☆ (3 / 5 stars)
Book Rating (YA Rating): ★★☆☆☆ (2 / 5 stars)
Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5 / 5 stars)
Heavy is the head who wears the crown.
Alastair certainly knows this, and with his coronation date fast approaching, he is worrying that he may not be able to wake the Veldstone Crown. But does he even want to be king? Wouldn’t someone with a stronger head, such as Brudak, make a better leader? When Alastair is transported to Kentucky via a portal, he ponders never returning, but sometimes the call of duty is too strong.
Goblinprince is the second book in Abbigayle Grace’s Pizza Shop Chronicles. It is a fun book that takes a unique approach on portal fantasy, opening a door to both the real and the fantastical worlds. Alastair represent the conflict any young adult feels between duty and desire, and with multiple kingdoms on his shoulder and an uncertainty over his own abilities, his accidental escape to Kentucky provides a valuable opportunity to avoid his problems.
Like Alastair’s conflict, my review for this book is…conflicted. It teeters on how to classify this story: Middle-Grade or Young Adult. On one hand, the simplistic nature and story-telling elements makes me consider it a Middle-Grade novel, but the age of the characters and some of the death and pain Alastair experiences pushes it more towards Young Adult. For all intents-and-purposes though, I will continue this review assuming it is meant for a younger audience.
The story is quite straight forward, which is not a bad thing, and its writing is simplistic but well written. There are some formatting errors in the eBook version that the author could fix, but that does not deter from the story itself. The idea of a magical portal that leads to a Pizza Shop in Kentucky is a unique twist on the portal fantasy, and I would have loved to touch on this more. I am sure this is in the first book of the series, which I may delve into, Elfboy. Plus, the idea of a half-elf, half-fairy goblin-bitten prince making pizza is a scene that will make anyone laugh in amusement.
That being said, some of the pacing in the book felt odd. I would loved to see Alastair’s development in Kentucky for a longer period of time before going back to the craziness of his life at home. It went from a lull to high speed action that never really seemed to stop. I can see the appeal in this for kids though; constant battles, no long winded conversation usually seen in fantasy, and jammed pack with action. There are a lot of characters though, often with very similar characteristics, and possibly if I had read Elfboy first these characters would be less confusing. Possibly if the book was longer, giving more time to world and relationship building, these characters would have had more chances to shine.
There were a few fantastic characters though: Dragon, the dragon who’s name is Dragon but not actually, is a sarcastic, wise, protective beast of Alastair’s friend Bryssa. Then there’s Marden. I loved Marden. She was spunky and funny, a nice foil to Alastair’s very poised and conflicted nature. Marden gave a nice breath of fresh air, especially towards the end of the novel, where Alastair’s brooding and personal confliction came to the largest front. Without Marden, well, Alastair might have succumbed to the bitterness implanted in him by the goblins, and she was the light he needed to keep moving forward.
Goblinprince is a fast, action-packed read that you can sit down and read in an afternoon. So if you’re looking for something quick, definitely check it out. I know I’ll be taking a look at Elfboy sometime in the near future.
What’s it about?
Wake the crown. Take the throne. Rule the kingdoms.
Alastair’s life seems all planned out. Well, if he can get the first part right. The obnoxious Veldstone Crown has been dormant for the past twelve years and won’t wake up for anything. Except for showing Alastair cryptic goblin visions, of course.
Then the goblins themselves show up and Alastair accidentally opens a portal to Benny’s Pizza shop in the magical world of Kentucky.
Surrounded by new friends and experiences, like attending the homecoming dance of Orangeboro High School as a guest of the legendary principal Snyder, Alastair’s not sure he wants to go back. Besides, wouldn’t the overbearing elf lord Brudak make a better king anyhow?