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The Girl Who Would Be King

Brian and his ten-year-old daughter, Sophie, review the next installment in Ben Hatke's Mighty Jack series.

The Girl Who Would Be King

BOOK REPORT for Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Cover Story: You and What Army?
Drinking Buddy: All Hail Her Majesty, The King!
Testosterone/Estrogen Level: She Drives a Mustang
Talky Talk: And They Lived Happily Ever After Until the Sequel
Bonus Factors: Girls Kick Butt, Epilogue
Bromance Status: Just Friends

Cover Story: You and What Army?

Brian: We really get a clue as to who the hero of this volume is. Jack and Maddy are understandably nervous here, while Lilly looks like she's deciding which head is going to go on her wall. Of course, the goblins are their allies, so that doesn't actually happen, but still.

Sophie: A good representation of the story, with the goblins and the rats, and Lilly still wearing the wedding dress from when she almost got married to the goblin king, which I liked.

The Deal:

In the first book, Jack buys some magic beans, grows a garden full of other-worldly creatures, and goes on some serious adventures with his neighbor, Lilly, and his autistic sister, Maddy. In this chapter, Jack and Lilly climb the beanstalk to save Maddy, who's been kidnapped by giants.

While Jack spends the book fighting monsters, this story is really about Lilly. She's badly injured at the beginning, and Jack, desperate to save his sister, is forced to go on without her. But Lilly is discovered by the goblins and given a transfusion of goblin blood. And she begins to change...

Drinking Buddy: All Hail Her Majesty, The King!

Brian: When Lilly is informed that she will be the new bride to the loathsome goblin king, she challenges him to a fight. Of course, the winner will become the king, and with Lilly's new blood, she's strangely comfortable with that.

Meanwhile, Jack is repeatedly forced to choose between the safety of his sister and that of his best friend, while kicking rat butt and trying to make sense of this dimension.

Yeah, I'm on their team.

Sophie: I thought the goblins were funny, with the way they talked: Our magnificent goblin kingdom! (It's a sewer).

I liked Jack because he's arrogant, which I can relate to, and he's brave, which is nice.

Lilly's cool. I liked the Dukes of Hazzard scene when she comes tearing in driving her car, with all the goblins in it.

Testosterone/Estrogen Level: She Drives a Mustang

Brian: This was truly Lilly's turn to shine. She sword fights her would-be goblin husband on their wedding day, she comes barreling in driving a souped up Mustang when James and Maddy are in trouble, and she refuses to let her goblin subjects die in a boiler explosion, even if it means risking her own life.

On the other hand, it takes all the courage she has to finally gets up the nerve to kiss Jack...right when his mom walks in.

Sophie: It was very action-filled. I liked how Maddy was a big part of Jack killing the dirt monster thing, by stabbing it in the back when Jack needed help.

Talky Talk: And They Lived Happily Ever After Until the Sequel

Brian: This is more of a companion to the author's Zita the Space Girl series, so the characters were a little underdeveloped. There are only two volumes in this series, so we don't get to find out their future adventures. Still, it was a fun ride, without having to commit to a multi-part epic.

Sophie: I enjoyed it. Since I've read Zita the Space Girl series, I liked how they connected all the characters in the end.

Bonus Factor (Brian): Girls Kick Butt

It's nice to see a female character who can wield a sword, rock a tattered wedding gown, and climb a beanstalk, despite her broken ribs. And sometimes it's better to find a boy who will watch your back rather than kiss your lips. Hear that, Sophie?

Bonus Factor (Sophie): Epilogue

I liked the ending, when Lilly's eyes turned yellow because of the goblin blood and how it all tied in to the other series.

Bromance Status: Just Friends

Not a lifelong love affair, but definitely fun. I think I'll check out this Space Girl series.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but no money or magic beans.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.