Have you ever read a blurb and wondered if a book is right for you?! Well this time you can ask those same questions while you read my review! …I have ALL the answers you’re looking for… If the book sounds good then you can check out the giveaway (here for a limited time!)…
The Goblins of Bellwater
by Molly Ringle
Published October 1st 2017
by Central Avenue Publishing
Four twenty-somethings fall in love when they become mixed up with the local goblins. Skye and Livvy are sisters who live adjacent to the Washington National Forest where they both have always dreamt of seeing the local fae. Nearby, Kit runs his auto repair shop while he secretly tries to keep the humans in the area safe. When Grady, his cousin, comes to stay with him Kit is unable to meet the goblins gold quota and so they find a human to curse…
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.
So you’re also attracted to the cover, right?!
I LOVE fae! So pair that fae rich title with an elegant and intriguing cover and I am sold! I found the cover simply gorgeous and while the vegetation has zero to do with the plot it created this atmosphere that was quite present in the story: a slightly creepy but lush vibe.
I don’t know about goblins though…?
“A chill skittered up Skye’s flesh. The creature reminded her of a giant spider, dark and spindly-legged. But she counted only four limbs, and two eyes gleaming at her, so, more like Gollum than a spider. Still creepy. If it was Gollum, though, it was a Gollum made of twisted sticks and clumps of lichen, or some kind of natural camouflage that had evolved to look like that.”
One of the things that attracted me to the premise was the idea of exploring just a tiny bit of the fae world. Most fantasy books touch on many different kinds of fae right from the start so I was intrigued that the author had enough story to write an entire book about mainly goblins. And I felt like the story delivered on the premise! We literally get to experience what it means to turn into a goblin! Woah!
If I didn’t convince you then maybe Molly Ringle’s answer to this question will… What are the goblins like in this book?
In keeping with both the “Goblin Market” poem and the bulk of faery lore, they are mischievous and villainous. They laugh a lot, but they are decidedly laughing at you, not with you. They steal, and in particular they lust after gold. Like other fae, they enjoy making deals with humans, but humans would be wise not to enter into such deals, as the obligation tends to be heavier than it sounds at the outset.
These goblins go further than merely theft, too; they assault and sometimes steal away humans and turn them into fellow goblins, and at other times enchant them into wandering unhappily in the woods until they waste away and die. Although the goblins are sometimes amusing in their level of witty rudeness, they are nearly all amoral and highly dangerous to get involved with. Only a scant few of them, who were once humans, manage to retain any human empathy. However, not all of the fae in my book are this cruel—the goblins are the worst of the lot! Others are willing to be quite helpful to humans as long as they are respected in return.
That did it, right?! So intriguing…
It was a wild ride… we got just enough information in the beginning to get a sense of the world, more explanation about the goblins later and a great climax that was somewhat unexpected. It’s not the type of world building that gives you a wide sense of what other stories could come from it but it served the story well and wasn’t shallow.
Okay, well I heard there are FOUR POVS… that can’t be well written, can it?
Actually having never read Molly Ringle before I was pleasantly surprised at the superior writing!! Grady comes into the story a little later than the others but I really felt that all 4 POVs were different from one another and stood in well for each of the characters. I was never confused about who I was reading… THIS IS A FEAT!
Really its HARD to actually have 4 different narratives sound different and so this success eclipsed some of the small problems. For one there was too much telling in spots. Quite a good chunk was balanced well with telling through dialogue and then showing feelings through actions but this slipped in spots and became quite glaring a time or two. This is hard to be consistent in and probably bothered me more than it would a regular reader.
If Skye can’t talk about what happened to her… how is there much of a story?!
Remember there is a curse and so there is a process by which the cursed person slowly gets backed into a corner… this is that story. It isn’t swords and sorcery but it’s still taking us on a journey through an unique experience… PLUS…
Storycraft is something I harp on a lot on my blog and it’s very important that characters are developed properly – this book did that decently well! I enjoyed the role that each character played in the story and that the typical trope of male saves female was turned on its head. When everything came out it was in the MOST NATURAL WAY POSSIBLE… I found this a brilliant bit of storycraft and development! FINALLY NOT A COINCIDENCE!
WAIT, I’m still stuck on 4 POVs… how can I relate to that many characters?!
First you get to experience everything first hand from Skye’s POV… this is a pretty messed up situation (and, sorry Skye, I’m liking it) though I felt for Skye through the entire experience! I can’t imagine the feelings of helplessness she felt not being able to SAY anything… (feeling it for real I mean!) Grady though provided the anchor she needed, though he was too close to her to see the actual PROBLEM (that felt spot on to me!) Their relationship was strong and quite fascinating… I do wish MORE plot had been developed to explore love vs. compulsion but what WAS there was compelling for me.
Then we have Lizzy! Are you an older sister? I AM!! So I totally felt for Lizzy and wanted to be the champion and felt that disbelief! GAH!! I was a little skivvied out about her swift advancement with Kit but their one on one interactions were quite well developed and I wanted to SHIP them… Kit I think is the first one that I felt for… I CAN’T have done what he did… NO. NO, NO!! Sorry family… so if you put yourself in their shoes (which is AMAZINGLY easy to do…) then you’ll FEEL it too!
Soooo, you’re saying this book is perfect?! Well why only 4 stars then?!
Okay, you’re right! It’s not perfect… I’ve mentioned a few of the problems… I didn’t particularly like Grady’s response after everything was over. Such circumstances needed a tad more angst to be real for me… not that the FINAL OUTCOME was wrong but it was too fast.
And the whole immunity thing was skirted around too easily… that felt contrived to me. (Plus see my thoughts as a writer below the typewriter…)
What I’m saying is YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK…
If you love fae then you’ll enjoy this book… there are stories within the story and some powerful goblin characters. I’m looking at you Redring and Flowerwatch!!
(Okay yeah so if you’re not convinced yet then Flowerwatch is my secret weapon… and the BEST character in the story… a minor character who is a HERO and so tragic but poignantly so… READ FOR HER!)
There are the sisters relationship (okay, YES I kept this in my back pocket as a backup plan…!) which was so sweet and loving and supportive… I also really loved the “in-law” beginnings that started to form early on… I crave books with MORE relationships like these, rather than just those of lovers and this book delivered those!
Fae Creatures! Goblins! Sisters! Cousins! Multiple POVs! Mature Relationships! Washington State!
A LARGE part of the book was the developing relationships between the couples. This was the weakest part of the story. It wasn’t insta-love and time passed between “dates” but there was NO OTHER PLOT through here. This drove me CRAYCRAY as a writer!! There was so much potential here to develop a little more magic between Livvy and the end!
Their personal connections would have been more believable too with other things happening (hopefully with the fae) that could have given a real sense of time passing as well as take the focus off the quick advancement from a couple dates to friends with benefits.
⋆⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title
⋆⭐⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft
⋆⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative
⋆⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
Becoming a Goblin is an easy thing to do but not so easy to accept!!
Do you enjoy books about the fae? Are you intrigued by the goblins?
Do you LOVE sister books? What other kinds of non-lover relationships are you looking to read about?
Have you read Goblins of Bellwater or are you considering it?
Thanks for reading XOXO