Gog is a teen troll with a problem. Boots and the Seven Leaguers--the best rock-and-troll band in the Kingdom--is coming to jam under Rhymer's Bridge during the next full moon and Gog is ticketless! But he concocts a plan by putting his slow troll head together with that of his quick-witted friend Pook. With a little glamour magic, Gog and Pook manage to convince Boots and crew that they are experienced roadies. But just as soon as they finish their hefting and hauling, Gog notices that his little brother, Magog, who he was forced to bring along, is missing. And Pook's sensitive nose confirms their worst suspicions--that Magog has been taken into the depths of the New Forest, an "untrammeled place... where wild magic still rules. Where the laws of eat-or-be-eaten still apply." To find Magog, Gog will have to outsmart the Weed King, face the horrible Huntsman, and walk into the lair of the Great White Wyrm. But Gog wants to save his little brother even more than he wants to see Boots play! And with a little luck, maybe he'll still get to do both.
Veteran fantasy author Jane Yolen does not disappoint with her latest whimsical offering for younger teens. The helpful "Traveler's Guide to the Kingdom" that follows the story provides more information about the Færy folk and their enchanting ways. Charming and straightforward, Boots will serve as a humorous segue into some of Yolen's more complex fantasies like the Pit Dragons series or the Young Merlin trilogy. (Ages 10 to 13) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
Yolen's (Wizard's Hall) plodding tale reads more like a farce than a fantasy. Narrator Gog, a young troll, is dismayed not to have a ticket to hear his favorite band, Boots and the Seven Leaguers, perform their annual concert in the Kingdom of the Fey. So Gog and his best friend, PookAa "tricksy" pookah who can change shapesAtravel to the site of the concert and disguise themselves as roadies to help the band unload and set up in exchange for tickets. During setup, Magog, Gog's little brother, disappears. The duo's search for Magog takes them deep into the dread New Forest, where Gog loses Pook and encounters a number of characters, including the Weed King, who speaks in rhyme; a "woodwife," a hollow woman who tries to snare him in her "spell of love"; and the Huntsman, who holds captive a bizarre creature known as the Great White WyrmAas well as Magog. Young readers may well lose their wayAor interestAtrying to follow Gog's meandering, choppy first-person narrative. After rescuing his sibling, Gog says he can't go home yet, "Because, in my slow troll way, I'd finally figured out that there were still too many loose ends." Readers, too, may find that many strands of the plot still dangle at the close of this disjointed tale. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
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