The Goblin King (Shadowlands, book 1) by Shona Husk
"An intriguing story, engagingly told. Who would have thought a goblin could make such a compelling hero? Darkly Celtic, richly imagined, this is paranormal romance at its best." – Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of Daughter of the Forest
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 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.
The Goblin King was a sure hit with me right from the get go. It took a fresh new look on goblins—who only ever get brief spots as creepy villains in fantasy—and turned it into an epic Beauty and the Beast retelling. Long ago a group of Celtic men trying to defy the Roman Empire were wrongly accused of betraying their people. An overzealous Druid cursed Roan—the King of his clan—and his men to have hearts of gold. They were banished to the nightmare realm, the Shadowlands, and cursed to lose their souls and become goblins. Creatures without souls who could only lust after gold and blood. Anyone who summoned the Goblin King could make Roan do their bidding, until a few centuries into the curse he could finally defy the summoner.
The Goblin King jumps right into the tale where Eliza is trying to avoid a horrible man that is currently blackmailing her into marriage. She summons the Goblin King and wishes that he would take her away. The Goblin King is only too eager to do so. However, this isn’t the first time she’s made the request and their story starts back in her youth. Or in the short story The Summons, which in my opinion should be the prologue. Because without it this story just doesn’t have the passion and emotions, making for a rough start.
This book was a great escape. It took goblins to a whole new level and made them sexy. Eliza does not make for the most interesting read, as she jumps from one man to the next. She attaches herself to Steve after her father dies and soon becomes a victim to Steve’s greed. Then when the Goblin King comes along she’s ready to make for her freedom, yet she still has to fully depend on Roan to save her. Husks writing never quite breached the raw emotions, I felt like the words told instead of showing. Roan’s suffering never really came to the fore front with him having to kill his own clan members, living the life in the realm of nightmares and doing whatever a summoner demanded of him. I appreciate that the reader didn’t have to sit through depressing passages of a cursed man, but one who was still fighting for life.
The Goblin King is an enjoyable read on what makes a monster and what makes a man. It’s a grand new fairytale about breaking curses and happily ever afters. Even though the writing lacked that vital touch to fully suck me in emotionally I was still invested and I have faith that the next book, Kiss of the Goblin Prince, will make that leap. The world of the Shadowlands and Goblins is something I am looking forward to visiting and getting better acquainted with.
Sexual Content: A fair amount of sex, nothing too exotic. Talk about goblins raping and eating woman, again nothing too detailed on the matter.