No matter how much trouble Sam gets in, he knows that he can always rely on his magic word, “sorry,” to get him out of a pinch. Teasing his little sister too much? Sorry! Hurt someone’s feelings in class? Sorry! Forgot to do his chores? So sorry! But when goblins come and steal his “sorry,” he can’t apologize for anything anymore. To get his “sorry” back and stop the goblins from stealing anyone else’s words, Sam will have to enter the goblins’ world and try to find the depository of stolen words.
There, he meets Tolver, a young goblin who’s always dreamed of adventure. Tolver longs to use the goblin technology—which can turn words into fuel to power ships—to set off and explore. But his grandma warns him that the goblin prospectors will only bring trouble.
Together, Tolver and Sam will have to outsmart the cruel prospectors and save the day before Sam’s parents ground him forever!
This is a well-executed fantasy novel with a wonderfully clever premise.
When it comes to fantasy stories like this one, it’s hard to keep track of all the new world’s facts. Here’s a cheat sheet/overview of the complex and confusing Boglin/Goblin world:
- There is a difference between Boglins and Goblins.
- Boglins live in the marsh bogs and do things the traditional way, only taking what they need.
- Modern goblins, like the prospectors, use giant machines to collect more words than they need, all in the name of ‘progress.’ (I love the irony of the prospectors misusing the word ‘progress’)
- Misused words are converted into hot air to power machines.
- Certain words can be used as spells.
This is all the info I can give you without spoiling most of the story.
Mainly, Goblins/Boglins steal words. More specifically, words that a human has overused or taken for granted.
Imagine losing the ability to apologize. I don’t know about you, but that sounds terrifying. But to be honest, the word ‘sorry’ is taken for granted. People say it a lot and usually don’t mean it. While reading this story, I noticed just how much I say it, usually for things I have no control over but feel guilty for anyway. I also noticed how many words I overuse. Words like ‘just,’ ‘especially,’ ‘book,’ ‘story,’ ’a lot,’ etc. It’s a very long list. Next time you talk to someone, pay attention to the words you use. What words are you overusing?
Overall, this story has great character development, plenty of action, and a lesson on choosing your words wisely and valuing the power of words.