Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
A boy joins a theatrical troupe of goblins to find his missing brother.In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around—much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared.
Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan—because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.
This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look at love, loss, and family while delivering a fast-paced adventure that is sure to satisfy
Goblin Secrets is a very imaginative, but darker story for younger readers. Along that lines of the Lemony Snicket series.
In his desire to find his brother Rowan, Rownie gets caught up with the traveling goblins who put on plays, to entertain some of those in the city. The main focus of their shows are the magical masks they use. The imagination and adventure comes along with the constant traveling through the city and magic behind the masks and music that carry the story.
The caretaker of young Rowan, Graba is one of the many darker and intimidating characters in this story.
It's a tough call to say it's better to be living with her, or amongst the Goblins out on the street. But Rownie does have a companion in his travels to find his brother. With traveling with a troupe of an ensemble of characters and hiding a lot from the guards as the shows are not exactly legal. Rownie gets into several instances of trouble, magical battles and gaining friendships.
I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the author. I think that he did a great job in narrating the story and bringing out the suspense, mystery and magic of the story. But it did seem to drag a little in the pacing and I do wish that some of the more intense moments had more emotion in the tone.
It was a very short read and imaginative with several fun spots, and constant movement and events happening. Definitely not a "happily ever after" story.