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The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Brangwain Spurge is an historian, and an elf.  Proud to research and document centuries of elvish beauty, elegance, transcendence, and (obvious) superiority, he is especially thrilled to have been chosen as emissary and ambassador for peace between his people and the goblins, with home the elves have long been at war.  Shot in a barrel via giant crossbow over the Bonecruel Mountains to the goblin capital city, Spurge’s mission is to deliver a recently discovered (in the the king’s new wading pool), ancient, goblin-made gemstone as a gift to the goblin king and overlord, Ghohg the Evil One.  While there, he is also to gather and send back information and intelligence on goblin society, culture, customs, and, oh yes, the source of their power.

Werfel is an archivist and a goblin.  He too is thrilled to have been chosen to host the elf as a guest in his home and show him the delights and marvelous history of goblin-kind, especially after the recent war between goblins and elves left so much devastation in its wake.  He is to entertain Magister Spurge and inspect the gemstone while they both await an audience with the goblin king, Ghohg the Protector.  Not an easy task, certainly, with centuries of war and distrust between their peoples, but Werfel is nothing if not an excellent host – and fully committed to upholding ancient goblin traditions of loyalty and honor.  Even if the honored guest is, Werfel is quite sure, not only spying and sending secret messages back to the elves, but supremely under-appreciative of goblin culture.  In fact, Magister Spurge is sanctimonious, sneering, superior, and completely annoying in almost every way, but a good host must soldier on.

The gemstone, however, is not what it seems, a fact that both Werfel and Brangwain are woefully unaware of.  When things come to a head and Brangwain and Werfel find themselves on the run from two kingdoms, will they be able to find a way to stop arguing, survive the Bonecruel Mountains, and save the world?

Elves?  Goblins?  A super-cute ichthyod (sort of a bat with tentacles – adorable!!)?  Award-winning authors of amazingness M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin teaming up to write a tale of a historian and an archivist caught up in centuries of war and distrust between two very different (or perhaps not so different) magical creatures?  Illustrations and prose combining to tell one epic story?  A book that can best be described as Tolkien meets Brian Selznick, with a lot of extra sarcasm? Yes, please!! I’ve been excited for this since I read the first reviews, and it was just as awesome as I wanted it to be.  Shortlisted for this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, this tale of first impressions, misunderstandings, and evil alien overlords that love to dance is the perfect blend of humor, (mis)adventure, snark, and sharp social commentary.  So sharpen your sword – and your wit – and get ready for a wild ride through the making of (goblin) history in The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge!

Author Visit starring Jacqueline West (or, wishes really do come true!)

Join us for a hometown celebration of Red Wing author Jacqueline West’s new middle grade novel, The Collectors, this Saturday, October 20th at 1:00 PM!  First in a duology, The Collectors is the story of Van, a most unusual boy, and the secret world he uncovers.  To tell you any more about it would be way too spoiler-y (I did get to read an advanced copy, though, and take it from this librarian – it’s the just right amount of spooky, magical mystery all wrapped up in gorgeous writing that I love!), so you’ll just have to come and hear Jacqueline talk all about her new book – and then read it!

We’ll also be raffling off a copy or two of The Collectors, you can ask Jacqueline questions about writing and books and wishing, get your books signed, and we’ll have some fun Wish Eater crafts too (wait, what’s a Wish Eater?  I’m not telling!).  There will be copies of The Collectors for sale from Rivertown Comics & Games, or you can bring your own along with you (maybe you already read it too!).  Oh… and wish cookies!!  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, can you?!

All ages and lovers of middle grade fiction welcome.  See you there!

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Book jacket cover of The Cabin at the End of the WorldIt’s October, which means Halloween, which means it’s a great month to talk about horror books. One of the best horror novels of the year so far comes from Paul Tremblay. Publisher’s Weekly wrote “[t]he apocalypse begins with a home invasion in this tripwire-taut horror thriller. Eric and Andrew are vacationing with their seven-year-old daughter, Wen, at remote Gaudet Lake in New Hampshire when their cabin is invaded by a quartet of weapons-wielding strangers, each of whom has been driven there by a shared vision: that the world will end unless one member of this family sacrifices another. That sets the stage for an excruciatingly tense standoff between them and their prisoners as they try to outmaneuver one other. Tremblay  skillfully seeds his tale with uncertainties, including news reports of portentous world catastrophes, that suggest the invaders’ vision is genuine, and he introduces enough doubt into the beliefs and behaviors of all the parties to keep them and the reader off-balance. His profoundly unsettling novel invites readers to ask themselves whether, when faced with the unbelievable, they would do the unthinkable to prevent it.”