2008; 390 pages. Full Title : Noggle Stones : Book 1 : The Goblin’s Apprentice. New Author? : Yes. Genre : YA; Fantasy. Overall Rating : 8*/10.
Bugbear the Goblin and his cousin Tudmire have run across a strange creature. It is twice as tall as a goblin (although not particularly powerfully built), ugly, and rather slow of wit. It almost fits the description of a “human”, but everyone knows those are just make-believe.
The creature calls itself Martin Manchester, and absurdly claims that Bugbear and Tudmire are the legendary beasts. But all three agree that the lay of the land looks different today. What has happened?
What’s To Like...Noggle Stones – The Goblin’s Apprentice has what I call the “Rocky & Bullwinkle effect” – both young people (maybe, ages 10 and up) and adults will be entertained by it. Stylistically, it’s kind of a cross between The Hobbit and Piers Anthony’s Ogre, Ogre., with a dash of Arthurian and Dr. Moreau-ian influence thrown in for seasoning.
There are some kewl drawings scattered throughout the book. The dialogue is witty, and includes some delightful songs/poems. There is a guiding philosophy called the “Four Precepts of Non-Logical Thought”, and it is positively sensible, provided you’re a goblin. Time-wise, the story takes place in 1899 if you’re a human, and The Year of the Dappled Beetle, if you’re a goblin.
In keeping with the target audience, there is no sex or cussing, and only very light romance. Some of the good guys do get killed, however. The characters are not particularly deep, but they are engaging. Riley Ratcatcher is a hoot. The bad guys are sufficiently evil to keep you turning the pages, but they won't plague young readers with nightmares.
“Yes,” came Tudmire’s timid reply.
“This scroll has done something! I don’t know exactly what, but chances are we won’t live through it! And before we die, I wanted you to know something...”
“This is all your fault!” (loc.410)
“This has been very pleasant,” the man said. “I mean that with all sincerity. A wonderful show. Thank you very much.” He smiled and nodded to Maga and her comrades. “But I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to die now.” (loc.6366)
Kindle Details...Noggle Stones Book 1– The Goblin Apprentice sells for $2.99 at Amazon. The sequel, Noggle Stones Book 2 – The Tragic Empire, is also $2.99. You can pick up the paperback version for $25.00, but why would you?
“Reality is a dream worth following.” (loc. 5024)As noted above, there is a sequel, and the book ends with a teaser for it, but NSB1-TGA is nevertheless a standalone novel. You will meet some Ogres here as well, and there is a promise of elves (Aes Dana) in the near-future. It appears these are the only two books in Wil Radcliffe’s repertoire. Here’s hoping he is working on Book 3, since #2 is on my Kindle, and Noggle Stones is certainly worthy of being developed into a series.
Noggle Stones Book 1 – The Goblin’s Apprentice was a light, enjoyable read. Pick it up when you’re in a “Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!” mood. 8 Stars.