Gnit-Wit Gnipper and the Perilous Plague Rosehaven:The Hidden City

by A.J. Lantz

Gnit-WitGnomepic

A.J. Lantz is a new and talented writer. The reader quickly understands the characters and plot because they are so well depicted and rapidly developed. In this first book we meet Gnipper an eight year old gnome who has developed the unfortunate distinction of bringing trouble wherever she goes. Gnipper’s father is a science professor who is also the Lord of the Board of Gnomes.

Poor Gnipper lost her mother at the age of four. She has no friends for two reasons. First, she is considered bad luck, and secondly, she has failed to secure her pileus. The pileus is the tall pointed hat that a gnome earns by displaying intellectual prowess. At first the pileus was an honor earned by a few distinguished gnomes. As time went on the cap was no longer an honor but considered a badge of shame if not earned by age seven.  Those unfortunates who failed to achieve it were considered stunted and derisively called gnit-wits.

Gnipper is desperate to please her father and achieve status as a learned gnome. All of her previous scientific experiments have failed. Finally, she thinks that she has an ingenious idea. While serving her father, Professor Tallhat his morning tea, she casually suggests that she has a brilliant new idea which will earn her the pileus. He presses her for information, but she tells him that it will be a surprise. Suddenly, the professor collapses. Gnipper struggles to get her father’s body down to her basement laboratory. It seems that her experiment has gone terribly wrong!

Gnipper races to the doctor, Kelda Pearlhorn, who just happens to be a unicorn. Unlike most of the island’s inhabitants, she has always been kind to Gnipper. When Gnipper describes the situation, the doctor becomes alarmed and races to the lab with Gnipper on her back, knocking over anything or anyone in her path. The doctor diagnoses the illness and is at a loss to treat it, until Gnipper comes up with a brilliant solution. However, this will require a great sacrifice from the doctor. Gnipper learns an important lesson about the pileus, while Kelda models an important lesson that Gnipper needs to learn.

At the end of the story, we are given a glimpse into Lantz’s new novel. In Rise of the Retics  we meet Tyranna, an eleven year old orphan who is being raised at Lipkos Monastery near the Baltic Sea. She is the only female orphan, but she doesn’t like to restrict herself to female pursuits. While writing her letters in her room, she hears nonresident her door. Some knights appear outside her room and drag her down to the gate. On the way, she is terrified to see that the monks have been murdered. She anxiously awaits her fate as she is torn from her the only place she has ever called home.

The only criticism I have is that there are no pictures to go along with the wonderful language, pathos and humor in this story. I would love to see some of these exquisitely defined characters and scenery displayed as illustrations. Tweens and teens will love this new series of fantasy adventures. They are so well written that adults will enjoy them as well.