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Ghoulish Song

Review

Ghoulish Song

“The last day of Kaile’s life did not start well.”

With those words William Alexander launches into GHOULISH SONG, a companion novel to his National Book Award-winning GOBLIN SECRETS. Set in the same magical city of Zombay, GHOULISH SONG takes place roughly during the same time as the floods are threatening to overrun the city, and it will take special magic to stop them. Kaile wants to do her part to help the city, but she can’t really do much if she’s dead, right?

"GHOULISH SONG is a nice little addition to what I hope is just the beginning of books centered on this mysterious and intriguing world Alexander has created."

Kaile thinks her death is all a big misunderstanding. It all started when some goblins wanted to perform at her mother’s bakery on inspection day. Inspection day is stressful enough with having to make the perfect bread to please the inspectors, but when you throw goblins into the mix, well, things get tricky mighty fast. Kaile’s mother basically throws the goblins out on the street, and rather than have the goblins curse the family name forever, Kaile gives them her mother’s inspection bread for their trouble. In return for her kindness, the goblins give Kaile a magical flute to play. You can guess what happened next. Kaile not only gets in trouble with her mother about giving the good bread away, but Kaile also is unprepared for what happens when she plays the flute: Kaile is separated from her shadow, and if a person doesn’t have a shadow attached, they are technically considered dead.

Having been shunned by her family and no longer recognized in the community, Kaile has no choice but to set out with her shadow and find some way to fix their separation. The one clue Kaile has to follow is that the flute will only let Kaile play the same mournful song over and over, and for some reason it seems to be tied to the river that is threatening to flood at any moment. Thankfully, Kaile stumbles upon a house of musicians who once played with her grandfather and decide to help her find a way to fix the separation from her shadow if Kaile promises to play her flute to help stop the impending flood.

The flute won’t play any other song, though, and it’s up to Kaile to figure out why or all may be lost!

William Alexander just scratched the surface of the city of Zombay in GOBLIN SECRETS, and if you were a fan of that book, then you will no doubt be delighted to read about what other secrets and fun characters are lurking around corners and across the bridge. Once again, the goblins are very fascinating little creatures that somehow seem so integral to the story even as they remain on the periphery of the main story arc. I also appreciate the fact that music is such a central component to the inner workings of Zombay and serves as the glue that holds the city together. GHOULISH SONG is a nice little addition to what I hope is just the beginning of books centered on this mysterious and intriguing world Alexander has created.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on February 19, 2013

Ghoulish Song
by William Alexander