In a mash-up of Alice in Wonderland and Sun Tzu’s the Art of War, an inexperienced gnome joins a group of misfits plotting to free enslaved gnomes from ogre fields.
In a mystical world where food gardens flourish with the help of magic, Wil stumbles into a misfit group of escaped slaves that eagerly embrace him into their clan. Over time, Wil learns the clan members are thieves and malcontents, determined to destroy the ogre overseers in revenge for their use of slave labor. His new clan prefers illicit trade to garden labor. Despite his bias against their thievery, Wil grows closer to his radical family as disaster strikes. A rebellious but beloved member seeks to take over the clan by murdering the current leader.
Shifting loyalties complicate the ensuing trial. Through a twist of fate, Wil finds himself in an unenviable leadership position. Wil’s first task includes executing the accused killer as an act of justice. Unable to carry out this cruelty, Wil hatches an escape plan for the alleged criminal.
As a leader, Wil faces an onerous internal dilemma. He can either adapt his beliefs to become an unethical leader to gain his clan’s freedom. Or, Wil can continue to alienate his new family with his strict morality and possibly lose them all.
Here’s what reviewers are saying:
The story opens with Wil, a newly orphaned gnome, running away from the traumatic events of the previous book, Gnome Harvest. He’s been forced to flee from his home along with a rabbit companion who helped save his life. The deep discriminatory belief held about rabbits in this society will feel familiar to readers of marginalized identities. It’s fascinating to witness these recognizable divisive and poisonous ideologies set in the author’s imagined world.
In addition to indoctrination and discrimination, the novel explores the profound impact that loss and separation has on generations of families after a rebellion. Wil stumbles upon a mysterious but welcoming group who invites him to join them, as long as he keeps the rabbit outside. Through this crew, we learn about gnome worker solidarity and whispers about plans to free those still enslaved. The rogue gnomes venture out on mysterious quests of liberation, risking imprisonment, enslavement, and being put to death.
This misfit crew includes a cat who speaks and thinks exclusively in army strategy terms, a young gnome who mixes perfume potions, an older one struggling with addiction, and an agoraphobic gnome who keeps them all well fed. With the story alternating between their perspectives, we experience the loneliness and longing in each of them—for a family they can trust, a home that’s safe, and to truly understand the enemy they face. Each of the misfits is haunted by their pasts, harboring secrets and plans of their own which contradict the teams’. They all grieve quietly for things they lost in their respective escapes from slavery.
Rosetta Gnome will appeal to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic found family stories, where suspicion rules relations and loyalty must live alongside desperation. The ending leaves room for a dark and twisted follow-up story and a new character to influence the gnomes’ fate.
—Reviewed by Andrea Marks-Joseph, Independent Book Review, http://www.IndependentBookReview.com
The author has created a world full of children’s fairy tale creatures for adults. Step into the realm of lush gardens and slave-owning ogres and fall in love with the fantastic characters. —Book Review Directory