The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

by M. T. Anderson, Eugene Yelchin


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“Both moving and hilarious. Spurge is not just an unlikely hero it’s hard to know if he’s a hero at all. But that only makes the finale of this political satire all the more surprising.” — The New York Times Book Review

Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. Witty mixed-media illustrations show Brangwain’s furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel’s determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story. This National Book Award finalist and hilarious, biting social commentary is rife with thrilling action, visual humor, and a comic disparity that suggests the ultimate victor in a war is perhaps not who won, but who gets to write the history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763698225
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 46,445
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

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The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Savagekitty2 More than 1 year ago
This book was so much fun. There are three types of chapters based on three characters. Braingwain Spurge, the elf, has completely illustrated chapters. Werfel, the goblin, has written chapters. Then, there's Clivers, another elf, and his chapters are letters. These chapters come together in a unique way, and make you want to read on. This book felt like it was in between a middle grade book, and a young adult one. It was dark, funny, and had a great pace. If you liked Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The invention of Hugo Cabret, this book is for you.
apeape More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book that snuck some life lessons in for good measure. It covers prejudice very well, showing how easy it is to be wrong about other people when one only goes by rumor and popular opinion, rather than getting to know one another. We also have some political satire at work, which I enjoyed. The friendship that developed between Spurge and Werfel was delightful to watch, and the growth of the characters, especially Spurge, was well done.. The story is a wee bit slow, and I'm not sure how I felt about the handling of the ruler of the Goblins, a strange creature called Ghohg, who just appeared from who-knows-where about 500 years ago. It's never explained where Ghohg came from, how it got there, why it came, etc, and this is both unsatisfying (because WHY?!?) and satisfying (sometimes things happen that we can't explain, that's life). The illustrations are fabulously odd creepy, and add so much to the story- not only visually, but in the reminder that we can't always trust our or other's perception of events. 4.5 stars.
CaptainsQuarters More than 1 year ago
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this middle grade fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . This be a goofy little book about goblin/elf relations as told through the experiences of two scholar-historians.  It sounds odd and it is but it is full of quirky delight. On one side ye have the elf, Brangwain Spurge.  His nickname in school was "the Weed" but since his school days he became a rather upright fellow.  He has been tasked with taking a goblin artifact back to the goblins in the name of peace.  While Spurge has sworn to uphold his duty to the king, his superiors have ulterior motives that may actually lead Spurge to uphold his oath "to the death." On the other side ye have the goblin, Werfel.  He has been selected to be Spurge's host and how he carries out those duties reflects on all goblin-kind.  From trying to procure food for the elven palate, to making sure the sheets are just so, to trying to show off the best that the goblin kingdom has to offer, Werfel is determined to do his utmost best.  It is endearing and fabulous to watch Werfel try to impress and comfort his elven counterpart. Seriously, Werfel is adorable.  All he wants to do is swap stories with Spurge and become friends.  The story is told from his point of view.  The misunderstandings and shenanigans are delightful.  And yet Werfel does his duty, above and beyond really, when things all start to go wrong. This book does have illustrations which are supposed to show Spurge's point of view but I didn't get to see many of them in me arc copy.  Yet what I did see was whimsical and silly.  Additionally there are excellent letters to the king from his spymaster updating Spurge's progress.  They crack me up.  I need to get me hands on a hardcopy.  Because this book does deserve a second look. This silly story does prove to have greater heart and purpose.  The message is one of friendship, overcoming cultural misunderstandings, how historical events have more than one viewpoint, and above all trying for peace in an uncertain future.  Werfel captured me heart and even stick-in-the-mud Spurge is viewed fondly in the end. So lastly . . . Thank you Candlewick Press!
Millie_Hennessy More than 1 year ago
I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review. This book was beautifully illustrated and designed and I loved the characters. Werfel is an archivist nerd through and through. He’s so excited to talk history and compare notes and share local artifacts and customs with his visitor. He’s concerned for Spurge’s journey across the land, hoping the emissary is comfortable – meanwhile, Spurge was placed in a barrel and fired from a giant trebuchet – and all the while he is prepping the champagne fountain and wondering if elves enjoy complimentary chocolates on their pillows. Werfel does his best to accommodate the downright rude Spurge, all the while still dreaming of sharing their historical knowledge and hoping for friendship to blossom. Werfel is nerdy, nervous and polite, but throughout the story, grows a backbone and defends his people against constant insults from Spurge. I really loved Werfel – he’s a goblin I can get behind and I totally relate to the mix of anxiety and excitement revolving around meeting new people and wanting them to become your friend. I never warmed to Spurge, though I think maybe I was supposed to by the end. He’s just such a jerk! Werfel and Spurge definitely fall into the unlikely duo category and despite my dislike of Spurge, I loved their interactions. This story, at its heart, is about understanding the differences and similarities between different nations and being open to the views of others. Trust me, I was surprised this goofy, illustrated book elf and goblin relations had some pretty clear messages to deliver. There’s plenty of disagreement about who started the wars that drove the goblins out of the forests near the elfin kingdoms, but more poignant are the differences between the two races. Readers come to learn many of Spurge’s views of the goblin city and race in general are based on his assumptions and prejudices, rather than the reality that surrounds him. There’s a lot of talk about personal growth from Werfel. Goblins shed their skins every few years as they grow. Werfel talks about this often, as Spurge finds it disgusting and disturbing, and I’ve highlighted a few of his eloquent examples: In reference to keeping previously shed skins – “It’s important to see who you’re growing into and who you used to be.” “It happens every few years. It itches at first. All over your body. And you flake. But it is also a matter of pride. It means you are becoming someone new. You have grown to the point where your old shape is no longer exactly your new shape.” Look, this book is just awesome. It’s touching, it’s funny, there’s action and beautiful, detail illustrations. It’s somehow relatable, despite how far-fetched it as at times and I would love to see more from this duo and the world they created! I most certainly recommend if: You love well-designed, lavishly illustrated, beautiful-to-behold books; you’re looking for a middle-grade fantasy that’s fun and meaningful (whether a younger or older reader); you like finding unexpected characters to identify with