Title: The Goblin Forest
Author: Mark Stary
Publisher: Rushcutter Press
My Goodreads Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
I read this book aloud to my son. He’s not much of a reader, and prefers screens to books. The reading aloud was a last ditch effort to convert him into a reader, and it worked. He hung on to the narration, and I can say, with due modesty, that I did a pretty good job of the reading, fancying myself an audio book narrator.
In 1841, the Springwood, sailing along Cook’s Strait, New Zealand, encounters a raging storm. Once the storm dies, the captain and another officer witness a terrible sight that the captain logs in his journals.
In the present day, Alan Dwyer, a loving husband to wife, Julie, and an affectionate Dad to kids, Matt and Leigh, decides to take his kids on a short vacation to New Zealand, while Julie takes care of her ailing mother. Before the vacation begins, Alan, a notorious prankster, promises his wife that he will not prank them ever again.
Once he reaches New Zealand, however, Alan cannot resist pranking the kids one final time before he turns over a new leaf. But the Goblin Forest is no place for jokes. So when Alan unleashes his last prank, disaster strikes, and Matt and Leigh are abducted by goblins. Now Alan, with the help of a park ranger, and a guild of Maori goblin hunters, has only four days to rescue his children and kill the goblin king, Harbin, or else his children will become goblins forever. Humanity will be lost forever as the goblins take over the world.
The action scenes, the characterisation, the setting, everything was well done. Even though this book was brimming with characters, the author succeeded in making each of them, even the goblins, appear as individuals with unique personalities.
The action beats were timed to perfection. At one point, I was worried about the fate of the children, but my sweet boy assured me that no harm would come to children in a children's book.
Just as I was hoping for a meatier role for the mother, the author managed to rope her into the story in a manner that felt natural.
The only criticism I can think of is that the book needed to be proofread better.
(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.)