Goblin Hero

Jim C. Hines

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Goblins! Nasty, brutish, short, vile, cruel, and treacherous. The common footsoldiers of fantasy villains. Alternately, an easy way for a low-level adventurer to level up in an RPG.

I love the little bastards.

Now, kobolds are my favorite race of short, malevolent humanoids. But kobolds are harder to find in print, so I, like a jilted lover, take solace in my second pick, goblins.

I think my love of goblins really took off when I was playing Magic. I'd build all kinds of goblin decks, and then when I got a card called "Goblin Warrens", I could sacrifice two goblins to get three goblin tokens. I'd represent the tokens with keys and I'd–

What? Oh, right, the book!

Goblin Hero is the second in a series, the first being Goblin Quest. They feature Jig, a goblin who's even more helpless than usual. He gets forced into going into the depths of the mountain to help an ogre. Once there, he discovers the true problem is an incursion of pixies. And nasty, mean pixies they are indeed.

His party consists of an extremely ancient goblin from the creche, a large and tough but amazingly stupid goblin, a goblin wannabe-mage, and a hobgoblin.

A fair amount of the plot revolves around the mage-wannabe, who also has decided to follow the Way of the Hero. And, in so doing, often works at cross-purposes with Jig.

Many things mark it a juvenile: the level of humor, the way the depiction of the violence never gets out of hand, the moral sensibilities that run through it.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I thought that some of the ideas in it were really cool. If you like goblins, it's definitely worth reading. If you're into D&D, you might find his take on the monster viewpoint interesting. I don't think I'd recommend it to someone who didn't fall into one of those two groups, though.


All material Copyright © 2009–2014 Ulysses Somers, except where otherwise noted.