Title: The Goblin King
Author: Shona Husk
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Shadowlands (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 1402259859 (Sourcebooks/Casablanca)
ISBN-13: 978-1402259852 (Sourcebooks/Casablanca)
Reviewed by: Kristie
Once upon a time…
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.
Quick & Dirty: Fantastic world of goblins with a sweet romance but a few slow parts kind of took away from the story.
Opening Sentence: The summons pulled at every cell in his body, tearing the bonds that held him together and dragging him from the Shadowlands.
Roan has been cursed as a Goblin King for almost two thousand years. If you ask him he can tell you the exact number of days. He lives in the Shadowlands but he has the ability to travel to the Fixed Realm (current time) any time he chooses but if someone summons him, he must answer that summons. Whether he likes it or not. He doesn’t realize that he has answered a summons from Eliza before (the short story The Summons explains it in full detail) and when he realizes that he is conflicted, he wants her as his queen but he believes that she is too good for the life of a goblin queen.
Eliza Coulter had been told to fear goblins by her mother but in a moment of panic and fear she called to the Goblin King to take her away. Sounds a lot like The Labyrinth movie but it is not. Eliza is rescued by Roan, the Goblin King. When she wakes up in the Shadowlands with Roan claiming her as his queen, she begins to panic. She doesn’t want to be his queen, she just wants to go back home. When Roan sends her back home with a seductive kiss, Eliza realizes that she would like to be his lover and possible queen.
Roan and Eliza both have their own enemies that they are trying to get away from. Eliza is trying to escape her fiancé who only wants what her last name can get her. He is a big time creep. He has implicated Eliza into a Ponzi scheme that would get her sent to jail if word of it was leaked, so he has insured her silence. Although at first to me it seemed like Eliza wanted away from her fiancé so bad that she chose the guy she was getting attention from, fighting one evil with another. The only problem was I really liked Roan in the end even though at times he tried to scare Eliza off, which obviously didn’t work in his favor. Roan wants to defeat his curse and to do that he has to fight the Druid who cast the spell on him and his people. But the curse is twofold because he believes a willing queen will help him no longer be a goblin but defeating the Druid can remove the curse on everyone. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of his people around anymore.
The world building is exceptional. The Shadowlands has power of its own; it has the power of memories and nightmares. The land can be shaped and changed. Roan has the power to appear human but only in the Shadowlands but when he crosses to the Fixed Realm he must appear as a goblin with grey skin and yellow eyes. He is grotesque to look upon and often wraps himself in darkness so his goblin form can’t be seen. The goblin motivations of seeking gold and using magic are eating up what is left of Roan’s human soul and when that is gone he will become a full blown goblin. Roan would rather die than let that happen.
The Goblin King pacing and tension just seemed a little off to me. I felt it moved a little slow at times and at other times it moved along just right. I felt one of the antagonists was dispatched to easy. Then it seemed like there was a lot of filler until the ending resolution. The story is told strictly through Eliza and Roan’s point of view.
The romance did seem contrived at first but then Eliza and Roan did meet when she was a teenager. She has been dreaming about him for years. She has been in a bad relationship and needs an escape. Roan takes her away but then the steamy kiss makes her realize what she has been missing. When I think back on it this has been a crush Eliza has had for years and she wants Roan. She wants to help him overcome his curse. She is still not too keen on becoming a queen but if it helps Roan she will. Their relationship comes off like a bittersweet tragedy. They want to be together but they don’t believe there will be a future for them.
Overall, The Goblin King sets up a great new world of Goblins and the Shadowlands, even though the pacing seemed slow, read it for Eliza and Roan’s relationship. I can’t wait to read about Dai, Roan’s brother, in Kiss of the Goblin Prince. I have high hopes for the sequel.
Roan flung more coins into the air. They joined the fray at his bidding without him touching their surface. The magic coursed through his veins thicker than blood. Hotter than a wildfire it burned through his body. But it was never enough. He could never channel enough to break the curse and free himself. Another pile of coins got caught up in the deadly dance. The gold in his chest became soft and molten, but it wouldn’t release his heart from its grip. Nothing lived within his flesh.
In the cage of his ribs something tore as if trying to break away. The coins dropped to the floor in a heavy, metal shower. He sucked in a breath, but the feeling didn’t leave. Live a severed muscle, it ached and throbbed. He closed his eyes with his hand over his chest as if he could stop the hemorrhage of his soul.
He saw the edge of the abyss. There was no light at the end, just soft, deep black waiting to embrace him. The darkness had always been safely out of reach. Now it reached out with needy, grasping hands. He stepped back as if he could step away from the edge. The voices in the dark called to him with a seductive promise of rest and no more fighting.
Such a small cost for eternal piece. You can keep your gold. We just want your soul.
Why was he fighting when he would just fail anyway? He bent, his hand on his knee and every breath cutting deeper.
He snarled, but the whisper of her voice made him look over his shoulder. The arms of the dark sirens became the bleached white hands of skeletons snatching at the edges of his clothing. Eliza’s grip was stronger. He was under her spell more than she knew.
She dipped her head, her gaze falling to the floor as she refused to look at him. “I was just . . .I. . .I’m sorry it didn’t work.”
The Shadowlands Series:
0.5. The Summons
FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks Casablanca provided me with a copy of The Goblin King. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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