THE CURSE OF GREG by Chris Rylander


From the "An Epic Series of Failures" series, volume 2
Age Range: 11 - 13
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Greg (Dwarven name “Greggdroule,” please don’t use it) Stormbelly begins this sequel to The Legend of Greg (2018) by setting his pants on fire with a misdirected spell at a Gargoyle and ends by organizing an expedition to find a certain pivotal amulet in the episode’s abrupt conclusion.

In between he adds a diamond-pooping Rock Troll to his posse of staunch allies; battles elves in a literally spooky New Orleans cemetery; spends weeks imprisoned in Alcatraz by his Elven best frenemy, Edwin (who hints at an ominous plan to save the world by putting himself and a few other well-intentioned Elves in charge); and comes to realize that a bloodthirsty talking war axe isn’t really a good thing for a pacifist to own. He also gets at least a line on a cure for the Elven potion that has apparently driven his beloved dad “kookier than ever.” Unfortunately, between and even during the fun battle scenes and set pieces, Rylander breaks all too often for momentum-killing dwarfsplaining (enhanced, if that’s the word, by footnotes) of Dwarven history and values, comparisons of Elf and Dwarf religions, digressions, and open-ended ruminations. Greg and Edwin present white, but the cast’s Elves and Dwarves include some with brown skin; it’s unclear whether the Goblins, Harpies, Trolls, Orcs, and other races here enjoy like diversity.

A middle volume that turns more on moral and identity issues than keeping the plot rolling. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 18th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5247-3975-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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