For the Love of a Goblin Warrior

Shona Husk
January 2013, Paranormal Romance
Sourcebooks, $6.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 1402262094
Part of a series

Grade: D+
Sensuality: Warm

The concept is promising - Goblins cursed to walk the Shadowlands until redeemed by the love of their soul mates - but it is such a shame to see that this series could not fulfill the promise of the debut novel. The Goblin King was a great start, but the last book is unfortunately not a strong ending to the trilogy.

When last the series left Meryn, he had just returned to the Fixed Realm (our world) after centuries of being cursed as a goblin. Unlike his cousins Roan and Dai, who knew that the curse had been lifted, Meryn was left behind in the Shadowlands as a goblin. When Dai saves him, he is confused and afraid and has no idea what has happened to him. He escapes Daiís protection and finds himself injured in the Emergency Room of a hospital. Despite having no language skills and being mostly disoriented, Naidine, the nurse on duty, senses intelligence and mental awareness in Meryn and ensures that he is treated.

When Meryn is released, he tries to adjust to modern day life. Dai is willing to help him, but Meryn is reluctant. Despite the fact that nearly a millennium has passed, he is grieving his wife as though it was just yesterday, since his years as a goblin dulled the pain and acceptance of her death. Surprisingly, it is the kind ER nurse who helps him the most to do this. Finding another person to care about and connect to helps Meryn to form a normal attachment not only to his cousins, but also to this new century and reality. It is only when Naidineís past and her motherís tragic death, possibly at the hands of goblins, comes to light that Naidine and Meryn, and their future, become threatened. It will take trust and faith to bridge the gap between the believable and the impossible, if only Naidine is willing to accept Meryn for what he is and what he has been.

Personally, if someone who is brought in by the cops as a deranged man, who speaks no known language, and who has a tenuous hold on reality began stalking me in the park as I did my daily run, my first instinct would not be to comfort him for the death of his wife no matter how handsome he was. I would run. And I would run fast. But Naidine? She finds out he is stalking her and that he may well live in the park, and she thinks he is great boyfriend material and eventually takes him to her roommateís wedding. All of this is before she learns he was once a Goblin. If she had learned it and accepted it beforehand, I might have forgiven her! But instead, the stalking was not a problem! The conflict came when she did learn he was a Goblin. That just made no sense to me.

Another major flaw in this book is the constant amount of introspection from Meryn. If I had heard one more time of how he failed his wife and caused her death by not protecting her, I was going to throw the book across the room. Once, maybe twice, ok, even three times I could take. But it seemed to be the entire make up of his character and the story was repeated until I was able to skim the repetition and move on. And I ended up doing it often.

When I read a romance novel, I expect that the hero and the heroine will be on somewhat equal footing. Often in this story I felt that this was Merynís story and Naidine was nothing but an afterthought. She could have been any woman to fill the gap. He just happened to fall for the first woman he has seen in a millennium? And the first woman who was kind to him since his wife died? To me, that was a matter of convenience, not the basis for a life changing romantic experience.

In my opinion, Husk miscalculated. She got her characters out of the Shadowlands at the end of the first book. That left too little conflict and plot for the other two books in the trilogy. While in the Shadowlands, the story was exciting and engaging and filled with fantasy adventure and romance. Outside in the Fixed Realm, it ceased to be a true paranormal where the paranormal elements were instrumental to the story. They were contemporary stories about men out of their time and they werenít even done very well. It is a shame. With such a creative plot, I was hoping for a lot more.

-- Louise VanderVliet

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