Witchbone Book One ~ The Goblin’s Winter: a paranormal fairy tale is a very long title for a book.  Several other things make me wonder whether the author took heed of editorial advice for MG tales [also demonstrated by the readability stats for this post. All the corrections suggested are in the blurb!].  But these are all writer quibbles.  As a reader, apart from the hugely long chapters, Witchbone Book One is a great addition to older MG paranormal tales.

I’m sure I ought to be talking about The Goblin’s Winter, but inevitably, I’ll just be referring to Witchbone 1. The title, not the cover, is what the ebook reader remembers. I suppose it cements the series title in people’s minds, though. And whichever way I do it , it gives me a letter for my GMGR A to Z and an author for my Alphabet Soup reading challenge!

Witchbone Book One ~ The Goblin’s Winter: a paranormal fairy tale

Witchbone book 1 the goblin's winterby Alex Norton

If you enjoy modern fantasy woven in a darkly humorous vein for middle-grade readers, meet Danny Hallow, a psychic boy with goblin problems…

The town of Eddystone, New Hampshire is locked in the icy grip of extreme winter temperatures, an arctic cold spell unheard of there for over a hundred years.

Danny Hallow, an eleven-year-old boy with a cryptic and closely guarded family history, is brought to Eddystone by his three Keepers. He’s been summoned for the reading of his uncle Enoch Wildwood’s will, a strange and reclusive man Danny didn’t even know existed until his sudden and mysterious demise.

While staying at his family’s ancestral estate of Gnomewood Home, Danny gets more than he bargained for in his uncle’s will and learns his family is even more unusual than he realized. He’s inherited some potentially dangerous genetic abilities and finds out that some people in the town of Eddystone think he should never have been born at all.

To add to his troubles, the deep cold has brought a horde of small, enigmatic creatures out of hiding. Small predators that are sneaky, vicious and hungry. Predators that take an interest in Danny.

With the help of some new friends and Eddystone’s most reviled outcast, Danny attempts to solve the riddle of the malevolent creatures that are plaguing the small seacoast town and its denizens. Along the way, he begins to explore his own emerging abilities and attempts to unravel the complicated web of his family’s secrets, kept hidden for centuries within the crumbling brick walls of Gnomewood Home.

If you enjoy the fantasy and friendship of the Harry Potter series or appreciate the wicked dark fun present in the works of Neil Gaiman, Dan Poblocki or John Bellairs, you may also like Witchbone: The Goblin’s Winter. This is the first entry in a series about the strange adventures of Danny Hallow, for all readers who love psychic kids, goblins, ghosts, witches, mysteries & fairy tales. Not purely horror, fantasy or science fiction, it contains elements of all three.

While this is a simple story about kids vs. monsters (human and otherwise) larger themes include the importance of friendship and family (especially when you, your family and friends are atypical), dealing with the expectations that are placed upon us by others and the overall concepts of good and evil. [goodreads]

My Review

Witchbone 1 is (if I remember rightly) the first book by Alex Norton, and boy, what a great start! The plot is not as hackneyed as the synoposis makes out. It lulls you into a sense of security: an orphaned (nearly) boy travelling north with his ‘keepers’ for the reading of his uncle’s will.  But all is not well in the place he’s going. We soon come across reasons to think something very strange is going on.

With a nod to bullying at his old school, he finds friendship at his new one, even if one of his new friends is the outcast of the town. And from this gentle beginning, I was thinking how well the description fitted the atmosphere, and how it could even be something a little less chilling than Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co, which is the pinnacle of scary older-MG in my mind.  But this is not too scary for Rebecca, I thought 😉

Then it gets darker.

It’s not as full-on as Lockwood, but it is as powerfully written, with antagonists worthy of our hero’s attention.  All the characters seemed purposeful and well-rounded, even the bystanders, which is great. There is plenty of family background for the reader to untangle, and nice touches like Max, the pet bat.

add to goodreads buttonI thoroughly recommend Witchbone 1 – The Goblin’s Winter and hope Mr Norton has already written the second in the Witchbone series. I’d like to thank him for the review copy through GMGR, and apologise for taking even longer to get to it than I’d hoped. If you’re looking for a Halloween read, this would make a good one!

And it’s got a beautiful cover!

Witchbone 1 - The Goblin's Winter 'less chilling start than Lockwood & Co, but then it grows... a great new paranormal series for older MG' AlexNorton #mgreads Share on X


Book Review | Witchbone Book One ~ The Goblin’s Winter
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