Mighty Jack, the book that immediately precedes this one. After reading this volume though, I feel I need to remedy that situation pretty soon. This second book in a series is fantastic, full of action, adventure, and suspense, and all done in a playful and thoughtful manner. The premise here is a take-off on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale, only now is prodded on to rescue his autistic little sister Maddy, who was kidnapped by an ogre through a portal into a floating world full of fantastic, gruesome creatures. Magic beans were involved in all of this, of course.
And although the title of the book only features Jack, he is not alone on his journey. His partner-in-quest Lilly is no shrinking violet. The two of them contend with adversity and injury along the way. And when they get separated Lilly finds herself face to face with the Goblin King, a conflict which takes her to a surprising place.
Even though I did not have the prior book, at no time did I really feel lost or uninformed. The story started midstream and caught me up to speed in no time. I was also thrilled and moved by the stakes at hand and the stamina and fortitude the human protagonists display. Plus, the book ends in a way that completes this story but also opens up a huge avenue for further adventures. Put simply, this book is breathtakingly awesome.
This book's creator Ben Hatke is a graphic novelist and artist known for his Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the graphic novel Little Robot, and the picture book Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. His artwork is usually simple and expressive, and I feel it very pleasing and fun. In this book his art got more detailed in a way that made things more dynamic though still as enjoyable.
All the reviews I have read of this book have been full of praise. Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred reviewed and summed it up as "Another outstanding adventure from a
master storyteller." Dustin Cabeal wrote, "Hatke can write serious moments, fun and exciting adventures and still keep a perfect pace while telling the story." Trisha Jenn Loehr called both Mighty Jack books "absolutely stunning."
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King was published by First Second, and they offer a preview and much more here.
A preview copy was provided by the publisher.