Friday, November 2, 2018

Shona Husk - The Goblin King

Cursed by a Druid millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde. When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen?
A man was cursed to the Shadowlands, his heart replaced with a cold lump of gold. In legends he became known as The Goblin King.
For a favored few he will grant a wish. Yet, desperately clinging to his waning human soul, his one own desire remains unfulfilled: A Willing Queen.
But who would consent to move from the modern-day world into the realm of nightmares? No matter how intoxicating his touch, no matter how deep his valor, loving him is dangerous. And the one woman who might dare to try could also destroy him forever.

Comment: I had this book in the pile since 2011. This is yet the case with many others but the reality is I just can't read as quickly as I would like and things pile up. I bet all devoted readers have the same problem... 

This PNR features a man Roan, who was cursed millennium ago to become the goblin king, a magical being that would overcome his human side to devote itself to the search for gold. With him, other men have been caught in the curse and now, when the story begins, Roan looses another of his men, leaving only his own brother Dai.
The story begins with a summoning, and Roan sees himself bound once more to the wishes of Eliza, a teenager who had summoned him before. However, Eliza is now a grown up woman and her summoning happened quite accidentally, for she only wanted to escape her fiancé and wasn't aware when was asking for the goblin king.
Roan feels very differently about Eliza now and part of him wishes loving her and possibly having her love back could actually break the curse... would it work?

Apparently, this first book has a prequel, novella sized, where some details are explained. I wasn't aware of that so I must say from the start that several things made no sense in this book or at least they just didn't feel well explained and it probably had something to do with it.
Another detail I couldn't help but notice was how disjointed the story was and that made it a little difficult to enjoy reading or to root for the characters.

Roan's story is complicated but I don't think I felt as empathy as I could towards him and part of the reason I feel is the way the author wrote things. I never understood why his crimes were that bad and why that specific curse was placed on him. He was then cursed, he had thousands of years to think, to plan, to do countless things and reinvent himself a thousand ways but it feels he is just as angry now as he was when he was cursed. It gave me the sense so long has passed but the hero hasn't changed at all with what happened. I wasn't that captivated by him.

Eliza summons the goblin king (how and why she would know she could do this, I have no idea) for the second time as a mistake and the plot starts from there.
She is in a situation not that easy to get out of and I could feel her fear, her lack of options to change the situation... there were some scenes focused on her POV that I liked and that, ultimately, saved this story from being a negative one for me.  However, Eliza isn't the only character and here were parts I also didn't understand why were used or important for the story.

One element of the plot is that Roan could take Eliza to his goblin king reality and she wouldn't "be" in the human reality anymore. The switch, however, wasn't always that obvious and often I saw myself wondering what was supposed to happen and why were they at a certain place now. 
There were also scenes with the enemy of Roan, the one who put him in the cursed situation and those I think were really uninteresting.

While reading I just kept thinking why does this matter? What's the point of reading about these characters, doing silly things? The world as was used this novel had nothing about it that readers could react to, so many things left unexplained...the goblin legend was used but only partially... I would have preferred Roan to have been cursed into a well structured reality, a world with rules, where goblins were just another type of being... this demand that there's a bad guy vs a good guy as an excuse of plot is quite exhausting and badly used here. How much more interesting it would have been to pt Eliza in the goblin world and see how she would adapt? Just my preference, I know, but it would have been a lot more interesting, I think.

As a romance, I didn't really enjoy this novel. Eliza and Roan as a couple certainly didn't make me eager to know their story, nor was I interested enough in them individually. I think this was mostly a lost opportunity to create an amazing world and show case a type of character not most readers would be interested in. There were some good scenes, some goof thoughts shared via Eliza's experiences here and there but... not enough to make me want to read more.
Grade: 5/10

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