The Goblin Wars – Part 1 is a fairly typical high-fantasy adventure, pitting well-known fictional creatures of the wild against an isolated city beyond the outskirts of civilisation. It follows a human paladin and a goblin shaman as they pit their skills against demons, the undead, the goblin horde and powerful necromancers. And, in so doing, they become the unlikeliest of allies.
Any book that mirrors the familiar and well-established fantasy realms must attempt to create its own niche or twist, and Stuart Thaman succeeds by giving new dimension to the goblin race.
The goblins are part of a hive, grown for a specific purpose by their queen bee, Lady Scrapple. Maturing like tubular vegetables from her tendrils that spread throughout the Kanebuller Mountains, all born of her are a part of her, enslaved to her will. Except she tries to create a new type of goblin, one more powerful than the others, one capable of wielding magic. She succeeds, but in giving him power she also gives him free will.
The book is a quick read with a flurry of intense and thoroughly enjoyable action scenes. Each of the main characters relies upon magic and the author does a great job keeping their powers unique and exciting. Thaman also does a great job setting the backstory of the city, Talonrend, and giving life to its religion, its god and its beautiful architecture.
Unfortunately, those aspects aside, there are significant flaws throughout the short book with regards to the characters and the plot itself. If you’re looking for a simple and light-hearted read then this is a great option, just don’t start pulling the threads.
For example, the main antagonist is simply the ‘bad guy’, and is given no real depth of character other than a torture scene, to portray just how evil he is. Considering he is the catalyst for the entire plot it is disappointing that his actions aren’t given motive.
While the main characters did little other than fit the hero or villain niche, it was supporting characters like Darius and Lady Keturah who added real depth to the story, but unfortunately their paths were cut too short.
The gout of liquid inferno washed over Keturah, blinding Darius momentarily as he ducked down behind her. Lines of fire continued down the hallway behind the pair, congealing onto the floor in a pool of sublimated flame…
…Keturah turned and lifted Darius from his crouch, brushing his shoulders off and smiling sweetly. ‘See, I told you to stay behind me.’
Flaws aside, this was an extremely enjoyable read and shows amazing potential for what the author could achieve, given his creativity. There are certain scenes that still pleasantly echo in my mind, causing me to smile, but ultimately there were just too many loose ends.