January 24, 2019

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

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:24 pm by suebe2

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

Goblins and elves have been at war for over 100 years, this in spite of the fact that they used to co-exist.

But elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission.  He has been sent with a peace-offering, an artifact discovered while digging in a palace garden.

His host is the goblin archivist Werfel who is thrilled to be honored to host such an important guest.

But Brangwain Spurge is more than he seems.  He has been sent to spy on the goblins and scout out their weaknesses.  Each night he enters a trance and sends back images of the goblin kingdom.  And that’s where Yelchin’s detailed art work comes into play.  Readers will immediately wonder how the city Werfel is describing with such enthusiasm and joy can be the horror experienced by Spurge.

Cultural misunderstandings as well as willful double crosses fill this book.  When Spurge arrives both he and Werfel are certain that goblins and elves are very different. Their foods, their music, all of their habits are different.  Goblins even shed their skins.  Disgusting!

I don’t want to summarize any more of the story because I don’t want to give it away.  It is no wonder that this book was a finalist for the National Book Award.  Titles chosen for this award are timely.  They deal with topics straight from the headlines.  For this book those would include prejudice, assumption and misunderstanding as well as eventual hope.

The combination of text and art gives readers insight that they wouldn’t have in a story that was text alone.  There are also dual story lines with elven memos explaining why Spurge was sent, Spurge sharing his perspective based on what he was told, and Werfel filling in the goblin perspective.

This book is so hard to describe.  Tolkien meets Mission Impossible?

And its clear that Yelchin and Anderson had a blast in creating this book.  Blast.  It’s a bit of an inside joke – read the book and you’ll get it.

–SueBE

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