The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton

The Goblin's PuzzleInformation

Goodreads: The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice
Series: None
Source: Netgalley
Publication Date: January 16, 2016

Official Summary

Brimming with dragons, goblins, and logic puzzles, this middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for readers who enjoyed The Princess Bride or Rump.

THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny.
THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted.
PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon.
And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped.

All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.


The Goblin’s Puzzle is a heartwarming and satisfyingly clever novel that will appeal to the child in everyone.

Protagonists Alice, Alice, and a boy with no name lead wildly different lives as a princess, a scholar’s daughter, and a slave until a dragon begins kidnapping young maidens named Alice and the boy finds himself obligated to rescue them.  From there, the characters’ paths being to converge in a beautifully woven narrative.  Chilton knows how to use different points of view to the best advantage and how to make sure they add to one another rather than distract.

Each protagonist is carefully and realistically characterized.  Chilton gives each believable strengths and flaws, as well as ample opportunities to correct those flaws.  Character development happens naturally as the three children meet up and adventure together, as each gets to see him or herself in new situation and from new peoples’ perspectives.

While the characters are funny and clever and absolutely endearing, the plot will also capture readers’ attention.  Chilton utilizes a lot of standard fantasy fare, including dragons, goblins, sorcerers, and monarchs, but he manages to put a unique twist on all of them.  Meeting a dragon here is like meeting a dragon for the first time.  Add the dragon rescue mission and the titular “goblin’s riddle” together, and you get a plot entertainingly daring and mind-bendingly clever.

The Goblin’s Puzzle is a must-read for anyone who loves a good fantasy quest novel, and one of those books I wish I had had as a child.  Perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine, Trenton Lee Stewert, or Christopher Healy.

4 stars Briana

6 thoughts on “The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton

    • Briana says:

      It is! I had so much fun reading it. It was really reminiscent of the fun and charming books I liked to read as a child, but sophisticated enough I enjoyed reading it now.


    • Briana says:

      My goal this year is to convince everyone that middle grade is magical. This was one of the loveliest I have read recently, though. And the take on dragons was really great. Unlike (seemingly) everyone else, I’m not obsessed with dragons, but this book has a really great take on them.


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