Monday, October 3, 2011

The Wrath of Mulgarath (The Spiderwick Chronicles #5), by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi


After escaping from various and sundry kidnappings, the Grace children must finally effect the ultimate rescue: their mother. With the assistance of a cowardly hobgoblin, a dangerous griffin, a dwarf-made sword, and a long lost relative, Jared, Simon, and Mallory take on "big bad" ogre Mulgarath. Jared, ever the hero, still struggles with his anger--a nice touch of continuity that is likely to resonate with young viewers, but the authors never offer any resolution or lesson on that issue. And Simon takes uncharacteristic action in defense of the fantastical creatures he loves. Sadly, Mulgarath is a bit disappointing, as villains go. While his actions were nefarious enough to be genuinely menacing, his evil intentions were rather vague. I was left with the distinct impression that the Grace children had to fight something, and an ogre seemed like an acceptable choice. Still, it's a fun series, and there are lots of fun, smaller-scale adventures along the way; it's only when the authors try to create a larger conflict arc that the story falters. And who knows--perhaps they will do better next time, as the ending leaves the door wide open for future installments.

Oh, and kudos to Mark Hamill for the delightful narration.

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