Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Goblin King - No, Not Jareth

Pros: Some fun ideas
Cons: Could have been so much better...

The Bottom Line: I wanted a good romance book for some fun, fluff reading.  ...Meh.

I keep finding books at work that I want to read, despite the fact that I have a truckload of books on my To Be Read list.  (I swear, one more random book, then I’ll hit the list.  Promise).  And I admit, I’m one of those silly girls who was a sucker for the movie Labyrinth and who likes fairytale stories.  So when I saw The Goblin King on the cart, I couldn’t just ignore it.  Besides, I’d been feeling romancey so I figured, why not?

Roan is a Celtic king (aren’t they always).  At least, he was until a druid cursed him and his men.  Now he has a gold heart and lives in the Shadowlands.  Slowly but surely, they’re fading into goblins, creatures with goldlust in their hearts and no souls to speak of.  So when Eliza, a girl who once called for his help, calls again, he goes to her.  But she’s a grown woman now who knows what she wants.  It may be that Eliza will be able to save him – or push him into the world of goblins forever.

Sounds like fun, right?  It was, a little, but overall I was getting impatient.  I didn’t ever really get a sense of connection with Eliza, and the two threats within the book weren’t very threatening.  At all.  Eliza had to worry about her corrupt fiancĂ©e Steve, but I kept waiting for him to become abusive…but he didn’t.  In which case I finally realized Eliza was a little stupid.  The druid threatening Roan and his men just sort of lurked around, occasionally popping up.  It was mentioned why he cursed them, why he was there, and so forth, but his overall motivation was weak, especially after so many years.  And when he finally did attack Eliza, it was like no one understood how he did it since he wasn’t supposed to be able to do a lot of things.  It was as though the author painted herself into a corner and managed to just squeak out of it because – I assumed – the druid used magic they didn’t know he could do.  Likewise, he was defeated way too easily.

The romance between Eliza and Roan wasn’t very convincing either.  There was no real buildup.  No sense of attraction between the two other than “she’s hot, he’s hot” thing.  Sure, we do get the occasional “Eliza’s got that fiery spirit in her eyes” thing and the “Oh Roan’s such a sensitive guy” bit, but overall they knew essentially nothing about each other and just jumped into bed yippee-skippy.  Heck, near the end of the story, even Eliza admits to herself that she knows virtually nothing about the guy.

(Oh, and by the way, why was Roan’s brother such a jerk?  That reasoning didn’t seem to make sense either.)

I’ll give Shona Husk points for the whole goblin bit, how Roan looks like a goblin in our world and you knew that Eliza would have to get over that bit in a Beauty and the Beast type way for everyone to live happily ever after.  In the general fairytale sense, it was nice, but I still think there’s room for a lot of improvement.  Things could have been added, a lot of the angsty stuff could be removed because it got repetitive, there were some areas that tended to contradict one another, there were occasional point of view shifts right in the middle of a section without a break, and I ran across three typos.

It’s not bad, but I was hoping for a lot more.  There’s to be a second book coming out featuring Roan’s brother Dai, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

My recommendation here is a weak one.  I offer that because I know there are people out there who will enjoy this a lot more than I did.


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