Sherwood Smith's Reviews > Goblin Hero

Goblin Hero by Jim C. Hines
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's review
Mar 19, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy

Okay, so there's a call out for a great hero to come and do some vastly needed heroic deed-work. What have you got? A runty goblin named Jig …A big, bone-headed goblin named Braf …A whiny goblin who wants to be a hero, even if she has to kill the runt to take his place …A wizened, crabby, nasty old goblin named Grell, who wields a mean crutch…and assorted hobgoblins, ogres, dragons, snakes, and other monsters—all of whom share one growing fear: the pixies.

Jig just wants to be left alone. Everyone else has motives for going on this quest that are not even remotely related to Right, Truth, the Path of Peace, or even Rank & Riches. Yet they have to band together, figure out how to cooperate despite their reasonable instincts to run, fight dirty, and betray everyone in sight when faced with danger. Hines crams the narrative with great visual and verbal jokes. If your Inner Kid still likes physical humor and gross stuff, you'll be laughing out loud as frequently as I did. But Hines doesn't confine himself to setting the characters up for bodily fluids splats, pratfalls, and nostril-probing expeditions. Such fantasy tends to run real thin even for hardcore cases (like most of my eighth graders) who never tire of fart jokes. Hines skillfully makes these characters sympathetic by getting inside their heads and then staying true to their paradigm. In their world, they are right, and reasonable. They are quite aware that handsome human adventurers want to kill them on sight, high and puissant types like elves utterly despise them, and everyone else is after their chitlins, and not in a good way. Hines makes us like the characters, so their stakes feel real. They matter to us. The stakes get spidier as the doughty adventurers discover what's behind all the mysterious killings, and the tension ratchets up. That's not easily done in funny fantasy. Hines manages it with skill and panache. Without forgetting his nose pick.

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