Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Teen Tuesday: The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin. 544 p. Candlewick Press, September 25, 2018. 9780763698225. (Review from arc courtesy of the publisher.)

When Brangwain Spurge, elfin historian, accepts an assignment to be catapulted into enemy territory to present the goblin king with a gift, he is honored and copes with the dangers. Little does he know, the gift he is bearing may just ignite a war. Oh, and kill him in the process. 

Goblin archivist, Werfel, is delighted to host. He believes he and Brangwain are kindred spirits and will have much to discuss. He rolls out the red carpet, goblin style and is nonplussed over Spurge's aloofness. He's also suspicious. Spurge keeps disappearing.

Each believes the other culture is the cause of all the problems in the world. The goblin-elfin conflict goes back over 1000 years and historical record is impeccable, is it not? As they stumble their way to an audience with the goblin king, readers discover through Yelchin's detailed illustrations what is afoot. In a world where insults are compliments, except when they're not and appreciation for other cultures is absent, how can it end, but badly?

This fantasy world is all too familiar in this sly, satirical romp. The illustrations propel the prose narrative, aided by letters from the spymaster to the elfin king. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is sophisticated, hilarious fun. 

I posted to Teen Tuesday because of the rather sophisticated humor and the fact that older readers might appreciate the satire. Younger fantasy fans and fans of Brian Selznik's illustrated novels will love this book as well. It's going in the "Everyone" section at school when it releases late September. I can't wait to see the finished product. Even the arc had heft and those illustrations! One could get lost in every one!

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