Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke | Review + Blog Tour

Hello everyone,
Today, I am going to be review Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke, the sequel to Mighty Jack. The duology is a middle grade graphic novel reimagining of "Jack and the Beanstalk" featuring siblings, a kick-ass girl, a wild adventure, fantastical plants, a whimsical otherworld, and, of course, beautiful art!

I do have to put a disclaimer that if you have not read Mighty Jack, there will be unavoidable spoilers for it below as I share my thoughts about Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Read at your own risk!

Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Mighty Jack #2

The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It'll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack's family, and bring them all safely home again.

I went into Mighty Jack pretty blind. I knew it was a retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and that was all I knew. I was riveted and couldn't turn the pages fast enough, but I made myself slow down because I really wanted to take in the gorgeous art. Reading Mighty Jack was pure fun and after the cliffhanger ending, I was so grateful I had Mighty Jack and the Goblin King on hand to binge read the entire duology.
Since I read Mighty Jack and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King one right after the other, I am going to talk about both books as a whole first, then Goblin King on its own towards the end of my review. You have to read Mighty Jack before picking up Goblin King because it is the second part of the story. 

In Mighty Jack, we meet Jack, his sister Maddy, and their single mom. It's summer and their mom was working two jobs to make ends meet so Jack had to stay home and take care of Maddy (who is autistic and doesn't talk). While at a flea market one weekend, Jack and Maddy come across a strange man (if you've read Zita you're be familiar with him) who had some mysterious packets of seeds that he said he'll give to Jack in exchange for his mom's car. Maddy, who never talks, suddenly spoke and urged Jack to take the seeds. And thus began their crazy adventure. 

After planting the seeds, it was soon apparent that what sprouted were no ordinary plants. With the help of their neighbor and new friend Lilly, Jack and Maddy tend to and tried to learn more about their extraordinary garden. When the garden proved to be too dangerous, Jack decided to put an end to it. But, Maddy disagreed with Jack and planted one more seed that grew into an ogre, which kidnapped Maddy and took her through a portal to another world.

That was how Mighty Jack ended, and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King picked up right where it left off. Jack and Lilly follow the ogre and Maddy through the portal and they were faced with new dangers as well as met new friends and old ones (again, if you've read Zita the Spacegirl you're going to be familiar with some of them). There were also some twists that I did not see coming and overall Mighty Jack and the Goblin King was an exhilarating, epic, and ultimately satisfying conclusion to the duology, though I wouldn't mind at all if the author decided to write a third book. I absolutely loved every minute of it!

I'm familiar with Ben Hatke's work through reading Zita the Spacegirl (one of my faves!) so I knew going in I was going to enjoy Might Jack and course I did! I love Hatke's art style and how he used minimal dialogue to tell the story. The art itself was vibrant and lively, with Mighty Jack and the Goblin King a bit more grittier to match the action and setting. I love how Hatke took some elements of the original "Jack and the Beanstalk" tale so you can see bits of it, but the story was his own and completely unique and very creative. 

I love all of the characters. Jack and Maddy were fantastic, of course, but my favorite was Lilly. It was fantastic seeing her step out of the sidekick role in Mighty Jack and the Goblin King and come to her own. She reminds of Hermoine where she has both the brains and the brawn. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Lilly's older brother--while Jack and Lilly were all high energy and boom! pow! smash!, he's like the calming humor whenever he's in the scene, which brought a smile to my face.

Overall, Mighty Jack and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King are fantastic! I absolutely loved everything (the art, story, characters, action--EVERYTHING) about both and I highly recommend the duology to EVERYBODY. I am so excited to book talk and share this series to my students--I know they're going to love it too!

About the Author

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia's House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. benhatke.com

Follow the rest of the blog tour!
Undeniably Book Nerdy, 8/22 << You're here!

For a complete listing of the blog tour, go here. And check out this awesome video of Ben Hatke and how he fuels his creativity.

Happy reading,

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