[adrotate banner=”1″]The Goblin Corps
by Ari Marmell
The Goblin Corps is something special, one of those rare breeds of books tht take place from the point of view of who would normally be considered the villains of the fantasy epic. But you will soon be cheering for the villains as they embark on their various quests to procure rare and magical items. The Demon Squad is made up of Craeosh the Orc, Katim the troll, Gork the kobold, Jhurpess the bugbear, Gimmol the gremlin, Fezeill the shapechanger, Belrotha the ogre, and Shreckt – their gargoyle drill sergeant.
The squad serves King Morthul the Charnel King, who has been recently foiled in his latest plot to take over the world. In response, his killing of the local king’s daughter has prompted the massing of a gret army to wipe the Charnel King’s empire off the map. The Demon Squad is put together to get the items needed to stop this threat, and also deal with the various problems tht arise when you live in a magical evil kingdom filled with monsters and horrors unimaginable. The characters come alive with their constant bickering, in-fighting, and sarcastic quips. The standard fantasy tropes are there for the different races, but twisted and tweaked to make them unique and familiar at the same time. Craeosh is just as likely to swear as he is to swing his big sword at whoever walks by, while Gork is the kind of character you should never turn your back on. Belrotha is dim but driven to do what is best for her people and her King. Fezeill acts prim and proper despite his constant outer appearance change. Grimmol is hiding a secret as to why he’s in the squad, which is hard to do when you talk constantly like he does. Jhurpess’s simple dialogue and goofy scenes keep him entertaining, and Katim’s motivation is different enough from the stereotypical troll behavior that even she stands out.
The various quests seem like video game levels, though the payoff happens earlier than you would expect, leaving the last third of the book to go down a completely different path. The ending was unexpected and unique, and makes me wish a sequel was here already. Don’t get too attached to the characters, as there is a body count. The heroic side has both heroes and villains as well, the lead sorceror being a particularly sharp thorne in the Charnel King’s side. And while there are a few odd threads that don’t seem to go anywhere (particular effort is spend capturing someone alive…and then she promptly is never mentioned again!), overall things go together solidly. Like I said, I wish there was a sequel already, and I meant it.
Books I Done Been Reading! name shamelessly stolen from Vault of Buncheness