Goblin Secrets by William Alexander had lots of elements that I usually love, but they never came together in a cohesive manner.
is a street urchin, one of several adopted "grandchildren" of Graba, a
Fagin-like old woman who unofficially rules the southside of Zombay.
Ever since Rownie's big brother Rowan disappeared, he's been sticking
with Graba in hopes that she will be able to locate Rowan. Rownie
eventually falls in with a group of goblins who run a traveling
theatrical troupe -- Rowan was an aspiring actor, even though acting is
illegal in Zombay, so perhaps Rownie will be able to locate his brother
in that world. Many adventures ensue as Rownie tries to evade Graba's
clutches and locate his brother, all in the face of rising floods that
threaten to destroy Zombay and all who live there.
So, this book
has magic, goblins, theatre, steampunk (some characters have gearwork
limbs or organs), and adventure. It sounds like just my sort of thing,
but none of it is ever described fully, and some elements just don't
make a lot of sense. There's plenty of action, but the backstory suffers
in favor of chase scenes and confrontations. This may make it more
appealing to reluctant readers, but I felt like there wasn't anything
there to sink my teeth into, though with a little more space devoted to
description, there could have been.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)