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Review: The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

in a sentence or so: well, the goblins are at it again. the little runts are busy in their underground lairs hatching a plan to kidnap cute little princess Irene to make her the newest goblin princess for prince Hairlip. little does the goblin royal family know that Irene has the help of Curdie (a very nice miner's son), her great-great-great-great-grandmother (who lives in a secret area of her attic) and Irene's own resolve to be a very good princess, indeed.

alternating between Irene's adventures and Curdie's expeditions, we find out about the goblins living in the mountain near their homes.  Irene is a princess, in the every sense of the word.  Curdie is a miner's son, a miner himself, and quite a thoughtful and caring young man really.  after Irene has an outing with Lootie, her personal nurse, that brings them much too close to a goblin grab, they meet the always helpful Curdie who saves them from the potential kidnapping and buds an intriguing relationship that will cross paths many times throughout the tale.

it becomes clear to Curdie, and to Lootie, that the goblins are after a new human princess.  since Irene's home sits right on the edge of the mountain where the goblins dwell, it's pretty obvious she's the one they're after.  the King orders his men to watch Irene and protect her, while Curdie acts on his own to find out what exactly the goblins are up to, and why.

Irene, who is blissfully unaware that she is the target of an underground snatching, stumbles upon a secret passage that leads her to a wonderful woman who identifies herself as Irene's great-great-great(etc) grandmother , and also her namesake.  Irene learns about how her grandmother sustains herself in this most bizarre area of her house, and is simply fascinated by her existence in general.  how can she be so old, yet so beautiful? how is it that no one else seems to know she lives here? why doesn't Lootie believe her when she attempts to share her discovery?

this was written as if it were being told like a story being told to a child at nighttime - which was pretty appealing and comforting, actually.  there are little interruptions and asides that are clearly for the advantage of the reader, which adds a quaint quality to the read that keeps it light and easy to connect with the characters and the narrator.

there's also a good chunk of goblin lore to sink your literary teeth into, which was quite fun to discover. for example, why those mountain-dwellers are always trying to kidnap humans as their brides, where their weaknesses are, and their aversion to human toes.

because of the intended audience being younger, there are very practical explanations for things that i truly enjoyed. like when someone behaves in a way that Irene doesn't understand (not believing her about attic-granny, for example), the characters in the story help her to discern why that is without making villains of them. the more i ponder that concept, the more i really appreciate the idea that we are able to believe certain things at certain times, and that's okay. it's not that we lose respect for those who can't share our ideas, but patiently wait for them to discover on their own, or just accept the fact that some will never share our ideas.

this was a story of courage, friendship, believing when it feels impossible, trust, and being true to yourself. i liked it a whole lot more than i thought i would, and think this is surely a classic that is a solid read for any reader.

fave quote: "The princess being fast asleep, and Curdie in a faint, she could misrepresent at her pleasure" (208). (sometimes narrator is sassy, and i adore sassy.)
fix er up: started off rather slow and trite, but it picks up and darkens and takes some interesting twists and turns to keep your interest.

title: The Princess and the Goblin
author: George MacDonald
genre: Fantasy

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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