Two Minute Reviews: Goblin Market and Dead in the Family

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This week is just killing me. I finally managed to wade through the 630+ page netgalley I received of The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I'll be posting a review to that (hopefully!) tomorrow. So, until then, two shorter-than-my-wont reviews. 

First up:

Genre: mythic fiction, fantasy
Series: Into the Green #1
Pages: 300 (Nook format)
Published: January 2011
Rating: 3.75/5

The Goblin Market reads like a classic fairytale, with a traditional beginning (also slightly predictable) plotline: the abduction and necessary rescue of a loved one, taken to lands afar and dangerous by an unassuming, unsuspecting "normal" girl. Meredith Drexler is the likable and capable rescuer, and her sister Christina, the carefree, completely dependent rescuee. Though similar to many fairy-tales and myths and  peppered with genre staples goblins, pixies, etc., Hudock's Market is a fairly fun and refreshing story to read.

Descriptive and vivid, this is a well-written and enjoyable novel. The editing in the ebook needed some work but the errors were not too huge of a distraction from the fast-paced novel and the likable characters. The pacing moves along briskly; there is not a dull or boring moment throughout the entire thing. I liked the version of the world that Hudock created: it's original but also recognizable if you look for the similarities.

I did find the romance aspect of Meredith and Him (personally, this was my least favorite name of a character ever) to be pretty abrupt and therefore pretty unbelievable. I don't buy into the "instantaneous love" craze that's overtaken most fiction these days: I want a real, authentic relationship that is built upon and which requires work and genuine affection. One relationship that I did buy in this relationship was the solid one between the sisters. Meredith's drive to save her sister (and ultimately herself) was compelling and affecting.

Read this with fair warning: unlike typical, watered-down fairy-tales, remember that the oldest, beginning fairy-tales were much darker, with the happy endings much more rare. Though some readers might want a different ending after reading this finale, I though it was brilliant as is; the perfect ending to a novel about goblin-abduction. There is a second (and I believe third) book on the way, nearing completion. Jack in the Green,  as the second volume is titled is due out later this summer. The Goblin Market, along with most of Hudock's other titles are pretty cheap for eBooks ($.99 to $1.49 for the four listed). The other books:

Beauty and Other Dangerous Things contains four speculative fiction shorts by author Jennifer Hudock, including Beauty, Hate, The Clockwork Heart and Skin.
Beauty--He's been chasing beauty down for years, wrenching her cold soul from every body it taints, but when the tide turns Brad Shaner discovers a centuries' old evil won't be so easily broken.
Hate--Abby dangles on the edge of defeat, torn between saving or slaying the monster that has taken over her life.
The Clockwork Heart--Death offers Summer the chance to save her younger brother Gerald, but when the price becomes too high, she quickly learns some things are better left alone.
Skin--Haunted by longing for her dead husband Jonathan, Katherine follows his faded dreams to his homeland in Scotland to learn a strange family secret he carried with him to the grave. 

Rhiannon's father disappeared mysteriously when she was a teenager. Her embittered mother refused to talk about him, locking away all of the paintings he left behind. It isn't until her mother's untimely death that she is able to get back into the house and the bottom of her father's disappearance. The truth lies in the bottom of an old trunk in the attic, and it's nothing like she ever imagined. 

A joyride gone wrong leaves a group of teenage friends at odds about what really happened. Seventeen-year-old Eric Malone, owner of the car, was knocked unconscious upon impact, but he knows he saw a girl in the road. Convinced they hit her, they all search the roadside, but find nothing. In search of the truth, Eric discovers that some secrets are too grave to share, even among best friends. 

Book Number two (some spoilers ahead):

Genre: supernatural fiction
Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series #10
Pages: 352 (paperback version)
Published: March 2011
Rating: 3/5

Dead in the Family is just what we've come to expect from Charlaine Harris: rather enjoyable supernatural fluff. This is the tenth in the Sookie series so far with an eleventh (at least) on the way, so we all know what we're getting into here. It's fun, it's fast, it's a paranormal mystery and in the end Sookie will get her manwomanvampirewerewhatever (and a couple orgasms).

There did seem to be an abundance of plot lines (some of which's resolutions were glaringly obvious) in this sequel, and at times throughout the story Sookie herself seemed dull and uninspired, with none of her sarcasm or snark. I don't mean when she is recovering from the previous book's events in the beginning, which were the most traumatic personal issues/wounds she's had to deal with since her Gran died. Further on in the novel, occasionally her narrative just seemed dull and repetitive, lacking her usual humor.
Sookie without possessing her usual fire and sarcasm is not a very common Sookie, nor one I'd care to read another 300 pages with.

I did enjoy seeing Ms. Stackhouse in a (as much as possible) healthy relationship with a vampireman. The lack of a real love-triangle with multiple male possibilities beyond thrilled me. That formula has more than worn out its welcome in this series. This time, the focus was more on the characters themselves, rather than who wanted whom, who was with whom, etc. I'm also glad Sookie's finally! dating Eric as Bill was boring to read about and Quinn was too much drama even for Sookie's crazy life. Meeting Eric's maker and famous half-vampire brother was an unexpected and unsettling surprise, as well. I enjoy that the famous personages that occasionally pop up in these stories are more of a furnish or an accent rather than the main event; it adds a level of history without deviating from the original characters. 

All in all, this was slightly below par for the series but not as bad as it could have been.


  1. Had to skip the review of Dead In The Family for spoilers reason. I too agree that there is WAY too much love at first sight in fiction. I hated it in Romeo and Juliet, I hate it now.

  2. ah, I am glad I warned you. I try to be nonspoilery, but sometimes you don't realize what can be inferred/implied from what you do reveal!
    And ditto - it just feels lazy to me. I want a real relationship, damnit!

  3. I had a similar response to "Dead in the Family" when I finished it last month. I also lost some momentum with that one because I had read the first nine right after the other and then endured a long pause before reading "Dead in the Family". When I finally got to it, it felt a bit lacking...but after a few chapters, I recaptured some of my enthusiasm for the series. Still, I'm really hoping the next one will be better. "the Goblin Market" sounds like one I might have to check out!

  4. I read the first 8 in a row and then had to wait for the next two, which I didn't like as much as the first 8. I just hope Dead Reckoning affects me like the beginning and not the last two!
    And The Goblin Market is good! I really enjoyed it.

  5. I have been wanting to read Goblin Market for AGES and now I think I may just be getting it and giving it a read.

    Thank you for the post.

    Blethering About Books


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