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Stuck in a land with a magical pendant that needs refuelling, jobless gnome musicians, and a flesh-eating troll—can anything else go wrong?

Darren is your typical teenager. With one eye on becoming the next famous rock guitarist in the form of Dazz “The Axe Man” Wild, and the other on a certain young lady named Paige, all he has to do is get through high school and somehow survive his annoying family. Forced to go to a car boot sale, Darren is doing his best to hide from his embarrassing mum and aunt when he stumbles upon Paige at a stall, and in a rush to hide his uneasiness, he buys an eagle pendant. Happy with his purchase and floating on cloud nine, Darren heads off home knowing that Paige has noticed him. However, as Darren loses himself in practising his music but with his family irritating him, his one wish is to be anywhere else. And since his new eagle pendant is magic, it obliges!


Darren wakes up in a world completely removed from his own and surrounded by five small, odd-looking people. It turns out he has been transported to a time in the past where trolls, dragons, and gnomes are commonplace! Darren befriends the upbeat group of gnomes who have a band and call themselves the Gnomads. As he joins in on their adventures on how to promote their band, Darren is caught up in trying to find a way back to his timeline, not get eaten by trolls, and teach the band members to play the same song at the same time. It’s going to take a strength he didn’t know he had. Is he ready for all of that?


This is a fun book for children roughly ages 9–12 and is a feel-good story about perseverance and digging deep to find out what you are really capable of. Darren’s journey often mirrors our own in life, where we have to go through something in order to find out what we really want and to learn the value of hard work. A very good message in this book is about staying positive and that helping others often leads to help for you.


I did find the pacing a little slow, as often the same kind of scene was repeated. There were a few proofing errors, but nothing jarring. The humour kept the book upbeat and the writing style was easy to read. I certainly enjoyed Darren’s journey and his engaging story.

Reviewed by

My passion has always been reading, so when I left the gaming industry I completed a degree in linguistics and psychology. I started my own business as a freelance editor and do book reviews for NetGalley, onlinebookclub, Thistle Publishing, Blue Moon Publishers, and any other books I read.

The Evil Headphone Goblin

About the author

Steve Dean pens his latest narrative as visions of aliens, dragons, and monsters swirl around his head. Writing for over twenty-five years, Steve tells tales that brim with adventure but weaves threads of humour throughout his works to showcase the importance of not taking oneself too seriously. view profile

Published on December 19, 2020

Published by Dayreads

50000 words

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by