Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book review: Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs

A girl trying to escape a cursed world, an enticing and dream-hopping Goblin King who'd do anything to keep her in his world and a dark power threatening to undo them all.

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs (Entangled Teen)

 

When I first came across Greta and the Goblin King, I remember being immediately intrigued by the title.

While I was deciding on whether or not to add this to my books-to-read pile, I came across a review describing it, and I quote, as "Hansel and Gretel meets Alice in Wonderland meets Labyrinth" (I’d add Peter Pan to this description as well).

Now being a fan of fairy tales - and having loved David Bowie's role as Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth - my interest in this book was pretty much guaranteed. 

Besides, with the promise of supernatural characters that, as much as I love them, aren't vampires, angels or werewolves, I was interested to see what the world described in the synopsis would be like.

Thankfully, Greta and the Goblin King more than proves that it has something different to offer. 

With a brave, bold and fiercely intelligent heroine trying to navigate her way through a deadly, beautiful and treacherous world, it's hard not to become absorbed and invested in this tale that speaks of magic, cursed lands and fantastical creatures.

After trying to save her brother from a witch, Greta is thrown through a fire portal and lands up Mylena, a harsh and unwelcoming world that is a far cry from home. 

The only human in a world filled with dangerous fairies, goblins and a whole host of other vicious and hybrid creatures, Greta is forced to disguise her humanity by keeping her ears covered at all times.

With no other option left, and as a means to survive in the world she's trapped in, Greta becomes a bounty hunter .

Unfortunately for her, Greta's plan to escape fails to go unnoticed, nor is she the only one who wants access to the world outside of Mylena.

With an eclipse on its way, an event which transforms even the tamest of creatures into rabid and bloodthirsty monsters, Greta and the lost boys (the only other humans – all ranging between the ages 12 and 18 - she manages to encounter) will have to find a way to get back to the world they belong, without becoming prey to the ravenous creatures out there.

The first book in a trilogy, Greta and the Goblin has proven to be quite an intriguing and very promising read.

As a huge fan of fairy tales, I always appreciate it when an author takes elements of an old tale and puts a new spin on it – and Chloe Jacobs has not only managed to inventively incorporate this into a beautiful, harsh and forbidding world, but she’s done so in a manner that only adds to the element of uniqueness that can be found in the novel.

Greta, the heroine of the story, absolutely steals the show. As the only human in a frosty world that considers her kind an enemy, Greta’s independence, resourcefulness and ability to fight her way out of some of the most impossible situations, is nothing short of remarkable.

Stubborn to a fault, she displays a don’t-need-a-boy-to-rescue-me attitude, that although sometimes gets her into trouble, is decidedly refreshing. Not only that, but she’s spunky and has quite a mouth on her – showing an effortless amount of bravery that is borderline reckless.

I really couldn’t help but find myself cheering her on.

In the midst of trying to navigate her way through the hostile and dangerous world of Mylena, Greta finds herself having to deal with the attention of Isaac, the young Goblin King; interactions which prove to be quite complicated.

Between mistrust and attraction, the simmering tension between the two certainly add a dynamic that will have the reader begging for more.

I have to admit though, that while Isaac is certainly likeable in his own way, I think it’s safe to say that Jareth is in no danger of being dethroned as the Goblin King of my heart.

I think the problem here for me is, that we don’t see enough of Isaac in this book to actually be able to form more than just a periphery opinion about him; something which I hope will eventually change. 


I also adored the settings of this book. Chloe has managed to not only portray a world that is snow-cold and hostile, but in all of the world’s icy exterior, she’s by the same token, created a world that glitters and shimmers in the moonlight, and one that’s inhabited by enchanting (if decidedly deadly) creatures.

It’s a world of both nightmares and dreams – and is just the kind of thing that lovers of darker fairy tales will enjoy.  And definitely makes this book worth the read.

I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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