This book was one that I discovered some time ago while checking out books from the library to occupy my commute to and from work, and as I've mentioned before, a lot of the books I listen to during that period were from the Juvenile Section. Or, to be more blunt, they were all in the kids' room, next to the Children's Librarian desk.
No judgement, no shame.
Some of the books I picked out based on their cover art and the synopsis on the back were... pretty bad. I won't lie and say every book was fantastic. Sometimes it was the story itself, other times it was the narrator's voice. But there were sometimes things that I couldn't jive with, so I put the book down, returned it early, and tried something else.
No judgement, and definitely no shame.
So when I picked out Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander, I was a little wary. I'd recently found a book that had a lot of potential but failed pretty spectacularly at living up to it, and I was afraid this one would turn out the same.
I was very wrong, and man am I glad I was.
There's something of a poetical rhythm to the author's narrative, and the setting (a mixture of clockwork and magic) is simply enchanting.
In addition to the excellent characters and wonderful dialogue, not to mention the beautiful prose and descriptions, this book has something that I don't think I've seen in a very long time.
It has a good sequel.
Rather than picking up where he left off and possibly losing the drive and poetry of his first installment, the author chose instead to follow a different set of characters through an entirely different story that was happening at the same time as Goblin Secrets.
In fact, you get to see two scenes from the original book in this one from another point of view, but instead of retelling the same story like Ender's Shadow did for Ender's Game, the main character of Ghoulish Song has no idea who the boy from Goblin Secrets is. She's never met him, doesn't know his name, and has no idea what he's up to during the harrowing experience of the Flood.
In sum - instead of continuing or retelling the old story, the author let the main character of his second book tell her own story, completely independent of the first book, though there are points at which the two stories intersect.
And that, I think, makes both of these books utterly fantastic.
If you like the tension and action of Titan AE and the whacky magical world of Labyrinth, then I think you'll like these books.