Oct 29, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Twelfth Book Review

Well, I did it! I completed the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2016. This was the second time I completed the Challenge.

The twelfth book I finished was for the category of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Dystopian Classics. This is not a favorite category of mine which explains it being the very last one to finish. I attempted 2 books, Foundation by Asimov, and Out of the Silent Planet by Lewis but neither held my interest. I then realized that a children's classic would fulfill the requirements of the category which opened up new possibilities. I'd much prefer reading about goblins than futuristic science fiction.


The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald was a favorite of my daughters back in the day when we homeschooled. I had never read the book but handed it off to them, both of whom loved it and actually fought over who would get to keep our family copy when all was said and done.

Rather than actually read the book though, I ended up listening to it through the Hoopla app and my library. The narrator was wonderful with his deep English accent and his ability to vary his voice for the different characters. I enjoyed every minute of it.

George Macdonald was a gifted writer. He knew how to blend words together almost poetically and paint a vivid picture.

The princess was a sweet little creature, and at the time my story begins was about eight years old, I think, but she got older very fast. Her face was fair and pretty, with eyes like two bits of night sky, each with a star dissolved in the blue. 


The book tells the story of the princess Irene, the goblins who lived under the mountains, the danger they posed to her, and of Curdie, the brave minor who figures largely in the story.  Irene meets a mysterious old woman living in the attic of the castle who says she's her grandmother, her great, great, ever so many greats, grandmother. Is that who she really is?

The goblins are rather humorous, all in all. Not so scary as could be portrayed. Nothing like a Tolkien goblin, but more like bumbling goblins. But, after all, this is a children's book.

George Macdonald's works influenced later writers including C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.  Both of them acknowledged a debt to Macdonald as having had an impact in their lives. 

If you've not read (or listened to) this book consider putting it on your TBR pile. I highly recommend it!


  1. I love this title. I read it twice, once to each of my daughters.

  2. I just recently shared about this book on my latest blog post! I absolutely loved this book when I read it a few years ago. In fact, sometimes I had a hard time putting it down! I just finished reading it (for the second time for me) aloud to my 8yo daughter recently and she loved it as well! We are right now actually reading the sequel as our read-aloud. :)

  3. I hope to read the sequel too although both of my daughters said it wasn't as good as The Princess and the Goblin. I'll be interested in hearing your take on the two books.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sounds like a fun read. I had never heard of the title or the author. I will keep it in mind for future Back to the Classic challenge categories.

    I know what you mean about Asimov. I read the first Foundation book this year and it was just OK....but had absolutely no characterization which I missed.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ruthiella! I hope you get a chance to read about Irene and Curdie and the goblins. I know you will enjoy it!


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