Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

After the death of her mother, a young princess lives on a country estate while the king travels around his kingdom helping his subjects. The king thinks his daughter is safe, but the goblins who live under a mountain near the estate have long wanted to take revenge on the king for something done to their ancestors. As they scheme about how to kidnap the princess, a young miner stumbles onto their plans while mining in the mountain, and he may be the only one who can save the princess and many others from the goblins.

This is one of the best fantasy novels that was written before The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. It has monsters planning evil deeds, colorful settings, some unique fantastical ideas, vivid characters, and a fast paced story. Perhaps a good way to describe it is as a novel length fairy tale. A few silly ideas involving the goblins fall flat, but other than that, it holds up well. While the story is fairly simple, the author found ways to give it quite a bit of depth, and weaves in a variety of original touches, bringing the story to life and making it worth reading for any fan of classic fantasy.

There is a bit of mild violence and scariness involving the goblins. It has a few weird ideas, some of them involving mysticism. Anyone old enough to read The Chronicles of Narnia should be fine with it.

I've also reviewed the sequel, The Princess and Curdie.

8 comments:

  1. We really like this story. George MacDonald, who wrote it, was very admired by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

    I am curious as to what the weird, mystic ideas were. I do not think I noticed them even though we have read it more than once.

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    1. I like it, too.

      If I recall correctly, my note about mystic ideas was referring to some of the magical elements in the book, partly because it could be perceived to be set in our world.

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  2. I ADORED this book (and the movie) as a child! I haven't seen/read it in forever, though, and I don't have the book. I will have to rectify that! Isn't there a sequel to this book, also? I never read it, but I think E talked about it. Have you read it, Jonathan?

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Kaitlyn!

      Yes, I've read the sequel, and I'll be posting a review of it soon.

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  3. I didn't like this book much at all. I think the only George MacDonald I've liked so far was Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood, which isn't fantasy. But my sisters like it, so I suppose it just depends on individual taste. :)

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Grace! I haven't read that one.

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  4. Love MacDonald, and I've also not read this book in ages--one of those I always say I'm going to read again and again and never find the time. I saw your review of the sequel, which I've not read yet but is on my list...my never-ending list. XD
    (And, as far as fantasy goes, I thought the magical/mystical elements were pretty mild.)

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    1. I know how those lists go. ;)

      Yes, the magical elements were pretty mild.

      Thank you for commenting, Kay!

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