The Goblin Wood
Ages 10 & up
For one to succeed, the other must fail...
Before the Decree of Bright Magic passed, hedgewitches, far-seers, and even goblins had been tolerated by the church. Now working magic carries a death sentence, and when Makenna’s mother is drowned for her work as a hedgewitch, Makenna wreaks revenge on her village and flees into the wilderness. As she wanders north, Makenna rescues and befriends the goblins who are being burned out of their homes. She may be only a half-trained hedgewitch, but Makenna believes that with courage and cleverness they can create their own kingdom in the great northern woods, and repel any humans who seek to settle there.
Sir Tobin has spent the last three years fighting the barbarian armies that attack the realm’s southern border each winter—every year their numbers are greater, and their magic grows stronger. So when a powerful priest tells Tobin that the realm’s only hope of survival is to move everyone into the northern woodlands, Tobin sees why this impossible feat is necessary. However the relocation can’t even start, because all the refugees who try to settle in the woods have been driven out by a powerful sorceress and her goblin army. Tobin has no magic himself, but he might be able to plant a charm in the sorceress’ lair that would allow the priests to find and destroy her—and the realm’s survival depends on his success.
And the battle for the Goblin Wood begins.
...Bell's story is complex, with several subplots and a surprising, satisfying ending... Kirkus Reviews *starred review
...a rousing fantasy adventure... Hornbook
...realistic dilemmas in richly imagined worlds, with characters who would surprise no one if they were to step off the page... www.genrefluent.com
Republished by Wild Writer Books
Cover art by Anna-Maria Crum
In the beginning, when she avenges her mother’s execution by destroying the village, is Makenna a hero or an anti-hero?
If you said anti-hero, does the way she later helps the goblins redeem her?
Even though she killed several people?
And how about Tobin, who is the reverse of an anti-hero. Is what he did for his brother “too good?”
Should he have let Jeriah face the consequences himself?
What about Tobin’s parents? Do you think his father was too severe, even though his wife and Tobin were lying to him?
And what do you think of what Tobin’s mother did? After all, she did manage to get both her sons out of that mess alive.
When Tobin first confronts Makenna, in what ways is he right about her and how is he wrong about her?
And visa-versa—how is Makenna right and wrong about Tobin?
Is Makenna right to try to save the goblins, even at the cost of human lives?
Which brings us to the villain—Master Lazur is trying to save an entire society. Aren’t a few deaths, particularly goblin deaths, justified?
And if they’re not, can you say Makenna is justified to kill humans to try to save the goblins?
How much do Makenna and Master Lazur have in common?
How are they different, and what different choices do they make?
The great wall was designed to separate goblinkind from humans—but it’s now full of gaps. Does that symbolize something?
In the beginning, how does Makenna regard the wall?
So is this wall divisive, or protective, or both?
Can walls be good or bad, depending on what side of them you’re on?
How are the goblins different from humans?
How are they the same?
Are they better or worse than we are, or merely different?
Click here for a PDF file of the Discussion Questions.