The Hobgoblin Queen (Tales of Dovewood: Book 1) by Anna B. Madrise

5 Stars

Publisher: Black Quill Enterprises

Date of publication: August 21st, 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Tales of Dovewood

The Hobgoblin Queen – Book 1

Wrath of the King – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Mundane Bergamot is just a simple Kitchen Witch from Whistlestoppe Village who thinks that there is more to life than gardening and cooking up spells with her Aunt Dovie. While traveling to Bettelburghal she meets Javen, a mysterious Book Mage from Nettlespire, who gifts to her a most unusual magic book which triggers a visit from two very extraordinary adventurers. She learns from her newfound friends that they need her help to save them and their kind from a terrible fate. Through Javen’s gift, clues begin to reveal themselves that sets them on their quest. But the evil King Vezzen of New Taleggia has plans of his own for the elusive creatures that inhabit the mountains beyond Dovewood Forest. Where previous kings have failed, King Vezzen is determined to succeed and impatient for a new war that could elevate his name above all others. Now Mundane must see if she has what it takes to out-smart the wicked king, save her friends from the brink of extinction, and quite possibly lift the curse that binds them all to Dovewood Island.

My review:

The Hobgoblin Queen starts in the village of Whistlestoppe. Whistlestoppe is a village of Kitchen Witches, and the village is getting ready to celebrate Yule. They celebrated with a feast and with a bonfire in which they burn a large timber bird and call out to the four corners (North, South, East, and West). After flames consume the bird, the party begins.

At this party, Mundane Bergamot is sitting with her best friend, Absidee Valerian, and Absidee’s baby sister, Lottie. They are taking in the Yule feast and talking about crushes (mainly Absidee’s crush, Brason Vervain) and Mundane’s upcoming trip to the town of Bettelburghal to help her aunt’s friends sell their wares.

Mundane feels that something is missing from her life, and she can’t figure out what. While she loves Whistlestoppe, she is restless and wants to travel. She gets her chance when Henley and Gittel Lovage go to Bettelburghal. She would never move away from home. Her Aunt Dovie, who has raised her since she was 8, lives there plus all of her friends. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father died in a horrible accident at sea. Everything she knows and loves is in Whistlestoppe, and she could never leave for good.

The next day, she is getting ready to travel with the Lovages when Aunt Dovie gives her a beautiful green cloak for Yule. After saying goodbye to Aunt Dovie and traveling a little while, the Lovages decide to take a break and then take a different path to Bettelburghal. The way that they are going to take takes them to The Crossway (where all the roads to all the different areas meet). This is where Javen the Book Mage lives. Javen is one of the few survivors of war in the Book Mages ranks that happened at Nettlespire. That war almost wiped them out. Mundane is excited because she is going to meet a Book Mage finally.

By the time they reach The Crossway, it is night, and Javen is waiting for them. As Mundane is admiring Javen’s books, he gifts her with a blue, leather-bound book with the letter B on the cover. She doesn’t get to read right away. She fell asleep the first night, traveled through a snowstorm, and then was helping the Lovages unload their cart.

She notices chickens out at the stable and thinks that it is odd for them to be outside in a snowstorm. After a bath and her musing about how the seas around Dovewood were not allowing the residents to cross that she opened the book. And oh, boy, she was in for a surprise.

The book was full of blank pages that all of a sudden started to fill. A map of Dovewood appeared with all the cities drawn in extreme detail. Mundane is surprised to see that her treehouse is prominently featured, along with other features in other cities. On the map itself, there are X’s and arrows but no words. After taking her fill of the map, she turns the page, and a riddle appears on the next page. About the riddle, Mundane has no clue, but she does know one thing, she has a Goblin book. Goblins are creatures of myth in Dovewood, and no one in recent years has seen one.

The next day, Mundane puts in morning work. While working, she notices that the chickens from last night seem to follow her. Telling Gittel that she is tired, Mundane goes to her room to nap. As she approaches her room, the same two chickens run into her room and morph into two small men. They introduce themselves as Fickle and Frazzle, hobgoblins.

After getting over her shock of seeing hobgoblins up close, Mundane shows them the magic book that Javen gave her, and they reveal something significant. She is chosen to find the gems that were scattered by two brave hobgoblins, Guile and Grouse. She needs to put them in a necklace called the Simulacrum, and save the hobgoblins that were turned into Trow by their anger over being hunted by King Vezzen. The magic book that Javen gave Mundane was written for her and could be only for her. It is a lot for Mundane to take in, and she asks until before she leaves town to make up her mind if she is going to help them or not.

While Mundane is being told everything, King Vezzen is on an obsessive hunt to exterminate all hobgoblins and find their city. He believes that destroying the hobgoblins will lift the curse that keeps the island isolated, and he also wants the treasures that are in their mountains. He has become consumed by his obsession. He has a secret in the dungeon of his castle, a secret that could be the undoing of the hobgoblins. He also has enlisted the help of the only other Book Mage alive. That Book Mage is Lorcan, Javen’s brother.

Mundane makes up her mind to help the hobgoblins after reading a letter from her long-dead father. Her father was instrumental in making the Simulacrum and the gems that go with it.  After she arrives home, she discovers that her Aunt Dovie is also part of the plot to help the hobgoblins. Dovie sheds even more light on the hobgoblin saga. They come up with a plan to send Mundane out-of-town on an apprenticeship. That way, her going missing wouldn’t raise the suspicion of a mysterious spy in their midst.

With those plans in place, Mundane is off on her grand and dangerous adventure. Meanwhile, King Vezzen is getting more bloodthirsty and more obsessed with having enormous power over Dovewood. Will Mundane be able to gather all the gems in time? Or will King Vezzen succeed in getting what he wants?

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. From the names (Absidee gave me a big laugh) to the people to the adventure, it sucked me in. I couldn’t read enough of it. I also love that I can be very comfortable with my 11-year-old reading it!!

I felt a connection with Mundane. I loved how she looked for the positive in everything, even when she falls out of towers. Her commitment to the hobgoblins was impressive and touching.

I also connected to Fickle and Frazzle. They were fighting for their people’s lives, and they were willing to follow Mundane on her quest and help her with it. Plus, they could shapeshift into anything.

I am still on the fence about Javen. While he is coming across as a good guy in this book, I have my doubts about how good he is and what his agenda is.

The end of the book does end in a cliffhanger, and it made me crazy. I wanted some closure on individual storylines. I guess I will have to read book 2 to find out what happens.

I would give The Hobgoblin Queen a Young Teen rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 13 read this book.

I would reread The Hobgoblin Queen. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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