The Legend of Gregby Chris Rylander Published 12 Jun 2018
|The Legend of Greg.pdf|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers|
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A boy discovers his destiny could totally stink in this riotously funny fantasy-adventure
Risk-averse Greg Belmont is content with being ordinary. He's got a friend--that's right, just one--at his fancy prep school, and a pretty cool dad (even if he is obsessed with organic soaps that smell like a mix of salted pork and Icelandic bog). The problem is, Greg isn't ordinary . . . he's actually an honest-to-goodness, fantastical Dwarf!
He discovers the truth the day his dad brings home a gross new tea--one that awakens bizarre abilities in Greg. Then a murderous Bro-Troll kidnaps his dad and Greg is whisked away to the Underground, where Dwarves have lived for centuries right beneath the subways of Chicago.
With the help of some awesome new friends and a talking ax, Greg learns all about the history of the Dwarves, which has been marked with tales of epic failure since the dawn of time. However, the return of the magic they once wielded means big changes are afoot, escalating tensions with the Dwarves' sworn enemy: the Elves.
Brimming with humor and action, Chris Rylander's The Legend of Greg turns dwarf lore on its head, delivering an adventure readers won't be able to resist.
"The Legend of Greg" Reviews
Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Greg Belmont always believed he was an ordinary kid. Sure, his dad is a bit on the eccentric side, obsessed with organic soaps and cereals. Sure, his best friend at school also seems to be his ONLY friend. And, sure, the Belmont family in general seems prone to bad luck, especially on Thursdays. And, sure, he got attacked by a polar bear on a field trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Yes, it smashed through five layers of safety glass to get to him, but that could have happened to anybody. So he’s genuinely shocked to find out the secret that his father has been keeping from him for years: he’s a dwarf (cue meme of Hagrid shouting, “Yer a dwarf, Harry!”) As magic is returning to the world, the age old battle between dwarves and elves is heating up again, and Greg is caught in the middle …
The book is lots of fun. Rylander has a great time building this version of Chicago where elves and dwarves live unnoticed among ordinary humans. Some of the passing mentions of real world celebrities who are really one or the other made me smile. The action moves at a brisk pace, and the chapters are just short enough to entice the reader into, “ … just one more.”
This was billed as a middle grade title, but, as one whose own middle grade years were an embarrassingly long time ago (let’s put it this way: I graduated high school in 1986), I found this to be an enjoyable fantasy novel by any measure. It does end on a To Be Continued moment, but events do resolve to the point where I didn't feel cheated out of an ending. Recommended!
This is definitely the next Percy Jackson. I was starting to read this book, but immediately I fell in love with Greg. He is relatable to most pre-teens. Even though his dad has some quirks, he secretly loves those quirks and has a great relationship with him. Edwin is his best friend who is considered to be “perfect”, but he loves being able to be with Greg because it allows him to just be himself. His friends expect him to love sports, but he secretly loves chess and bad puns even more. A good portion of the book is spent explaining their friendship, which was important in my opinion. Middle schoolers sometimes try to be “perfect” and live up to what their friends expect. Greg is imperfect and has a quirky father, but he accepts this fact and doesn’t try to constantly change himself. He doesn’t have to wear a mask, because no one expects anything from him. Edwin is “perfect,” but because of this, his popular friends expect him to act a certain way. He likes being able to take off the mask with Greg.
Back on track to the Dwarf story. It actually takes a bit of time before Greg is fully thrown into the main plot of “Yer a Dwarf!” This was important to me because it gave me the chance to see who he was as a person before he is given his powers. After he is told the truth about his heritage, he is thrown into the Underground, the world of Dwarves beneath Chicago.
This is really where the world-building comes into play. It wasn’t amazing world-building as some things were just not described. For example, I could not easily visualize where Greg was when he was in the Underground. However, this is a middle-grade book. Most of these books contain little to no description of what isn’t action. I wasn’t drawn out of the book or bored, so this didn’t affect the quality of the book. However, if you are into heavy scenic worldbuilding, this might not be the story for you. If you are here for the building of the history of the world, this book will not disappoint you. You will receive knowledge of Dwarven history, just as Greg learns it from the adults in the Underground. I found this method of storytelling to draw me into the story better than Greg just stumbling upon random tidbits and facts because it gave the Dwarven community more of a family feel.
I won’t spoil anything, but I have to say that I was shocked when Elves were included in the story. It felt like everything changed, and I could relate it to things currently going on in the world that Middle-Grade readers might be exposed to.
The plot of this story is not slow by any means, but I did feel myself becoming connected with Greg and everyone he encountered along his journey. This is not a simple book just for middle schoolers, I found myself enjoying it as a mostly YA/NA reader!
This book did not have any editing or formatting errors that I noticed even though I was reading an advance version. I would assume that your current copies will also be as spotless as mine!
Get ready to be sucked into a world full of Dwarves, magic, Elves, and other creatures in Rylander’s new story: The Legend of Greg!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new Middle Grade/YA fantasy novel with unique characters, action-packed scenes, and meaningful storyline.
The worldbuilding is a little bit weird, but I love the characters and the writing style!
Greg Belmont discovers that he's a Dwarf and there's a whole world of Dwarves, Elves, and magic that he never knew existed. When his father is kidnapped by Trolls and his own magical abilities are triggered, Greg is whisked away to the world of Dwarves located underneath Chicago. There he makes a few Dwarf friends (and befriends an annoying talking axe) and learns of the tense history between Dwarves and Elves and finds himself training for a war that is expected to arrive with the reemergence of magic.
Middle-grade fantasy is probably my most favorite genre to read, so I was very excited when The Legend of Greg arrived...unfortunately, I found it to be disappointing.
The Legend of Greg certainly has a few positive things to offer. The world-building is actually good and captivating. Rylander builds his Dwarf world from the bottom (of Chicago) up and infuses this world with fresh and imaginative fantasy elements, well thought-out history, and cool settings. Most of the humor throughout the story, whether punny and cheesy on purpose or acerbic, is chuckle inducing. The brisk pace and constant action certainly make this a page-turner. And Greg makes for an interesting and likable enough narrator and hero.
However, I found the negatives overshadowed these positives. While I enjoyed many of the laugh-out-loud moments, the dialogue is often cringe-worthy, over the top, stilted, or, in much of the latter parts of the book, feels out of character. Other than Greg and his friend Edwin, most of the characters feel flat, uninteresting, and their personalities kind of just meld into one typical background character. Then there are characters like Glam (one of Greg's new Dwarf friends) and Buck (his revered Dwarf instructor) whose behaviors and actions are meant to come across as amusing in an "oh that's just them being them" kind of way, but really make them bullies who seem to lack empathy. Buck's harsh teaching style toward Greg, that includes verbal abuse, is explained by Buck simply expecting great things from Greg and pushing him extra hard to "help" him be prepared for anything...this behavior is actually pretty alarming, especially since it's so easily excused away. And there seems to be a lack of diversity (racial and cultural) amongst the characters, which is always so disappointing in kids lit.
Dwarves are big eaters, especially meat, which is fine on its own, but their views on animals and animal rights is pretty appalling and treated in such a lighthearted way. Then there's a recurring motto throughout the book that Belmonts don't cry (not that they physically can't, they just don't), which sends such an awful and dangerous message about machismo and bottling up one's emotions. There are some heavy and important topics that are either alluded to or outright discussed in The Legend of Greg- racism, feminism, body image, bullying, healthy/unhealthy relationships, politics- and many of the issues the Dwarves and Elves have faced and do face, mirror many Real Life issues that are prevalent today. I am ALL for topics like these being discussed and explored in middle-grade books and, while I think the inclusion of these issues/topics/themes in The Legend of Greg and the messages trying to be conveyed are well intentioned, the approach and execution is lackluster, ineffective, and at times send mixed messages. Overall, when it comes to these issues/topics/themes, the story seems to be all snarky preachiness with no substance or true depth.
Honestly, while reading The Legend of Greg, so much of the story just didn't sit well with me. Middle-grade readers are smart and insightful and I have no doubt that they could not only handle any of the negative issues I've mentioned, but form their own thoughtful opinions and reactions to them...but, bottom-line, there are SO many other, better middle-grade fantasies that I would recommend before this one.
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus
Thursdays are usually bad in Greg's world, and his health food owning father's world as well. But the Thursday when Greg goes to the zoo with his elite private school classmates is especially bad when a polar bear tries to attack. His teachers are angry, and no one seems to have noticed that his best friend Edwin seemed to mesmerize the bear into NOT attacking Greg. When his father, who has just come back from another quest for ingredients for his funky teas and soaps, is attacked at his shop and kidnapped, things are definitely not looking good. With the help of a family friend, Greg finds out a LOT of interesting things he did not know about his family situation. For example, he's really a dwarf. Yes, a Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Gimli sort of dwarf! Not only that, but Edwin is an elf, and they are the sworn enemy of the dwarfs. In fact, it's suspected that Edwin's parents might be behind the kidnapping, so Greg is having a hard time trusting his friend. When he travels into the dwarfs' realm under the city of Chicago, he meets other dwarfs his own age, and is amazed at the instant rapport he has with them. His first order of business is to find his father, but if a cute girl can make him a dagger and help him with his mission, why not? Things turn out to be more dire than his missing father, and when the adults don't seem to believe them, the dwarf children, along with their assigned tutor, take it upon themselves to try to save the day. Things don't go as well as expected, setting up the start of a war that will take at least two more books to settle!
Strengths: Rylander has proven himself as a master of the middle grade adventure trilogy with The Fourth Stall and Codename Zero, and he certainly cements this reputation with The Legend of Greg. Even the chapter titles are hysterical, but despite all of the humor, I really felt like Greg's problems were serious and real. The trust issues with Edwin-- wow. Serious stuff, and really well handled. Plenty for my fantasy fans as well-- talking swords, quests, underground encampments. I thought about this one for quite some time after I read it. It's quirky, but in a way that middle grade readers will enjoy. Bonus points for the breakdowns of which celebrities are which type of creature. May I be an elf? I just really want to run the library at Rivendell. And wear pretty robes.
Weaknesses: This will not have quite the wide appeal of Rylander's other two titles, but will be fantastic for fantasy readers.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing and can't wait for the next book!
In realtà 3.5.
Ho trovato questo libro nella mia Owlcrate di Luglio e ho finito di leggerlo in questi giorni.
"The legend of Greg", libro middle grade che mi prometteva tante risate, non è stato molto all'altezza delle mie aspettative.
Io solitamente amo e vennero i libri per bambini, ma solo quando riesco a coniugare l'avventura ad un ottimo stile di scrittura e cattivi come si deve (per esempio la serie di sfortunati eventi, ovviamente 😂 esempio della vita).
Questo romanzo invece ha una bella ironia adatta ai più piccoli, ma uno stile che non mi ha fatta impazzire per niente. Più o meno a metà lettura ho perso interesse nelle avventure di Greg e questo assolutamente non è positivo.
Con questa recensione non sto dicendo che il libro è brutto, solo che non è adatto a me, ragazza di ventidue anni con gusti particolari 😂.