This is my last review for the first round of SPFBO19. In the Land of the Penny Gnomes was a quaint read. It had more of a middle grade feel to it (I didn't see where it was marketed as such), and not really up my alley. However, there were a few things I found enjoyable. Will, the main character, had a voice in his head called "The Narrator", and the story was interspersed with humorous footnotes (which can be read kind of like this parenthetical thought). It was a clever idea and worked well in the story. I also enjoyed the nitpicking between two married gnomes (Bug and Sindy) and the way they interacted.
The story as a whole was definitely more childlike and simplistic. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but the writing style wasn't my favorite. Will was referred to as "kid" literally hundreds of times, and it got grating. I think the author was going for more of a humorous tale, but there was far too much telling and not enough showing. I chuckled a few times, but it was mostly at the footnotes. After awhile, I just wanted to finish the book to get it over with, not because I was invested in the story or characters.
I think younger audiences will enjoy this, however. I can definitely see myself liking it in middle school. Congrats to the author for completing a novel. No easy task. Perhaps marketing it as MG fantasy more explicitly would hit the right target audience. Good luck!!!!