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Permafrost #2

Goblin King

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In this stunning sequel to White Stag, Janneke must find how far she's willing to go to save her world from destruction--even if it means sacrificing everything she's fought for.

The Hunt is over but the War has just begun.

Against all odds, Janneke has survived the Hunt for the Stag--but all good things come with a cost. Lydian might be dead, but he took the Stag with him. Janneke now holds the mantle, while Soren, now her equal in every way, has become the new Erlking. Janneke's powers as the new Stag has brought along haunting visions of a world thrown into chaos and the ghost of Lydian taunts her with the riddles he spoke of when he was alive.

When Janneke discovers the truth of Lydian and his madness, she's forced to see her tormentor in a different light for the first time. The world they know is dying and Lydian may have been the only person with the key to saving it.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published December 1, 2016

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About the author

Kara Barbieri

2 books397 followers
Kara Barbieri is a twenty-two year old author with a love for the weird and mystic. She enjoys weaving ancient mythology into her stories and writing characters who are strong yet vulnerable at the same time. In her free time she trains with the same weapons her characters use, studies as a linguistic major, and generally tries her hardest not to be normal.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 174 reviews
Profile Image for Alana.
664 reviews1,270 followers
September 29, 2020
“I couldn’t change the horrors of my past, but I could still fix the problems of the future.”

Rating: 3.5

Goblin King is a solid follow-up to the first book in the series White Stag. Initially, I was a little hesitant jumping back into this because it had been so long since I read the first book and while I remembered all of the big events that happened I was worried there was a good chunk of this book I forgot. Luckily for me though, the author did a fantastic job of recapping the events of book one without dragging this story down and I found myself quickly reminded why I loved this dark, gritty world and these characters so much. With that being said let’s dive straight into the breakdown of what worked and didn’t work for me in this sequel!

What I Liked

🌎 Dark, ice cold world.
And when I say ice cold I mean it literally. I loved the world building in the first book and I still love it just as much in this one. The only thing colder than the temperature in this book may be the goblins and I am so here for it. The author also does a fantastic job of mixing mythology into this story to allow readers to see some of the horrors Janneke and her friends will face in the upcoming pages and worked so incredibly well for this book.

🐉 Epic adventure. Goblin King is without a doubt much more fast paced than the first book. The characters go on multiple quests which had me flying through this in no time. When one problem is solved about ten more arise and the characters find themselves in some sticky predicaments.

👿 Dark fantasy. This series is very much dark fantasy, so if you’re expecting all roses and butterflies….let’s just say you won’t find that here. Janneke, is still trying to heal from her prior trauma but knowing that she will have to team up with her tormentor to try and save the world is no easy feat. Soren, who has been a vital part of Janneke’s healing process suddenly needs to rely on her for help coping with a grave and permanent injury. Plus, a few other characters have a one or two secrets they’d be all too happy if no one found out about which means there’s truly a lot going for this book but you definitely have to be able to stomach it.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 A lovable found family. As Janneke and her friends go on their quest to save the world it’s so easy to love them. Aside from what each characters brings to the table the banter between all of them leads to some seriously funny moments – even when they’re staring death straight in the face.

What I Didn’t Like

🔚 The ending.
I don’t know what it is but there’s just something that grinds my gears about thinking a story is going to be over at the end of a book and finding out that that is most definitely not the case. Will I pick up the next book? Absolutely. And while I would never deduct stars off a book just for that reason, I will say that the ending of this overall just felt a bit cliche and really rushed….especially since there’s going to be at least one more book in the series.

tw: torture, mention of rape, death of an infant, suicide, gore, murder, death/sacrifice of an animal

br w/: Amanda

Thank you Wednesday books for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review!

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Profile Image for Monica.
524 reviews161 followers
November 9, 2020
Fantastic sequel to White Stag! The land of Permafrost reminds me a lot of Middle Earth, especially this journey and band of friends/enemies. I recommend both these books to any YA fantasy reader... I hope there will be more to come!

Many thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Dark River.
140 reviews61 followers
September 29, 2020
*This doesn't contain any real plot spoilers, but fair warning in case you prefer to go into a book completely blind.*

I was very excited to pick up Goblin King after White Stag was such a surprise hit for me. Any small things I had to criticize about it fell flat in comparison to the interesting take on mythology, the ruthlessness of the world and the goblins inhabiting it and the unconventional and intriguing main character that was chosen to tell this tale. I enjoyed that Janneke wasn't yet another copypaste bland no personality heroine and that she came with a lot of imperfections and struggles. I enjoyed the adventures, even though at times it felt like the stakes weren't really as high as they should be, but the pacing was good and it helped move the story forward, so it worked out for me.

Unfortunately, Goblin King didn't iron out any of the small issues I already had with its predecessor, but added onto them. It had most of all a very big tonal problem in my opinion.
The "being told it's high stakes but feeling it's low stakes" - thing is still present and at this point, because it doesn't change much, it's starting to take away from my enjoyment of the story while reading. It's not at all impactful if I just learn about how big and bad a mythological creature in this universe supposedly is if I only learn this information the moment said creature appears on the page.

Furthermore, the Permafrost is harsh and cold and grim and seemingly pretty far removed from our current society. Why is it then, that it feels like I'm still listening to a 17-year-old teenager from any random city in the States and her found family - loving group of friends, instead of a 100+-year-old trauma-hardened supernatural being and her band of warriors, advisors and her king?
This story touches on so many heavy topics - mental and physical abuse, rape, torture, eating disorders and various other mental health aspects as well as the recovery and the relapsing that are tied to them, and I have no problem with using a little humor to brighten up this otherwise rather grimdark atmosphere, but it felt too childish at times (monster cock jokes where no monster cock jokes needed to be (clarification: in reference to an actual rooster-like being but come on :'))), calling each other limp noodles and so on. Do you even have noodles in your world? It's just an example of course, but things like this REALLY took me out of the story and made it so much less immersive than it otherwise could have been) and thus stood in such stark contrast to the rest of the story, that it simply didn't work for me. Like I said, tonal problem.

I didn't enjoy the writing as much in this one either and felt like I was being told every single development with the characters, rather than being shown it. I've been thinking this in book one sometimes too, but maybe not as much. Here it becomes especially apparent between Janneke and Soren and the ups and downs in their relationship, but also between the side characters. It's not necessary to spell out what someone means with a certain action every time and neither is it necessary to elaborate on every thought that Janneke has. Since we're stuck inside her head anyways, I'd prefer to be allowed to interpret some of her ideas and feelings on my own. Same goes for Soren's thoughts and actions which also get explained to us in great detail by Janneke nearly every time.
I'm starting to think simply adding multiple POVs would have been beneficial. Both to make following different people's standpoints more organic and because, as the story progresses, Janneke becomes more and more unlikeable and I could honestly use some fresh air, so to speak. Her constant psychology lectures on Soren and on his mistakes and faults as if she's figured it all out are all the more grating to read when she has the exact same problems and possibly makes even bigger mistakes and questionable choices in their relationship. Especially when it comes to eye to eye communication and forgiveness. I like imperfect main characters, but Janneke's level of hypocrisy is a little too much for me at times.

Ocassionally it felt like I was reading the author's own personal thoughts on certain topics, rather than the characters' and that too took me out of the story because it wasn't just woven in like I'd expect it to, it read more like "story - cut to a paragraph of personal notes - story".
And just to clarify, I'm not bothered by an author trying to send a personal message about a topic that might be close to their heart, obviously. I'm just bothered by the _way_ it was inserted here, because it caused a disruption in the flow of the book.

Also, side note: Where did Diaval come from all of a sudden? Her introduction could have been made a little more impactful imho. As it stands, I want to care about her and Janneke's relationship, but I have a hard time finding reasons to emotionally invest because I still feel like I have no idea who she even is.

After all that, I have to say that I did like the general plot very much still and I plan to continue reading the series. But Goblin King wasn't my favorite in the Permafrost saga so far.

Favorite moments: Hel's trials (especially the third. That one really hurt), more backstory on Lydian

**Thank you for this ARC to Wednesday Books and Netgalley.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,718 reviews856 followers
November 4, 2021
#1) White Stag ★★★★☆

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Janneke (mc) PTSD; Soren (li) PTSD & disabled; Seppo & Rose (scs) m/m relationship.

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Profile Image for Lucie V..
973 reviews1,789 followers
March 5, 2022
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you St. Martin's Press). All thoughts and opinions are my own.

✅ Action
✅🆗 World-building
🆗 Characters
🆗 Romance / Relationships
🆗 Plot
🆗❌ Pace

2.5 stars

As in the first book, Janneke does not feel like she is 117 years old, she feels like a 17 years old teenager who lacks a certain maturity and wisdom. She has a sense of duty and she is willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, but it still felt like she was a regular teenager most of the time and not someone who has lived for over 100 years. It gets better near the end though, she gets more philosophical and more attuned to her new powers and new responsibilities as the Stag.

Janneke changed a lot since the beginning of White Stag (probably because she accepted the fact that she belonged to the Permafrost). She went from hating every goblin and not believing they could feel anything positive to having a boyfriend (they even say "I love you" to each other) and a best friend (but she would never say it out loud). By the way, where did Diaval come from? I am not sure if I missed something in the first book or if she just popped into existence in this book… The same can be said for Rose. I know this book takes place 1 year after the ending of White Stag, but all these new characters were thrown at us without any explanation, and it was a little confusing at first.

As in the first book, this book is mainly about traveling to fulfill a quest, but this time they need to kill something bigger and harder to find than the Stag. Honestly, I found this book long to get into, and then some parts were just about traveling and Janneke’s inner thoughts and worries because she is not yet able to use the Stag’s powers. It is not a bad book, but it is an ordinary fantasy traveling group story. I honestly don't feel that much happened in this book, even though it's almost 400 pages.

I missed the ruthlessness that was present in the first book. The fact that goblins were vicious and violent and had no real relationships. In this book Janneke, Soren and Seppo are all a big happy family with best friends and boyfriends and we’ve lost a part of the dark atmosphere that made White Stag different from all the other goblin/fae books I’ve read lately. The characters are in love and understanding and all friendly and I understand why they changed, but it is so drastically different from the ruthless and selfish goblins in White Stag, it was weird at times…

White Stag ⭐⭐⭐.5

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Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
929 reviews799 followers
November 24, 2020
2.5 stars

Goblins, the underworld, and a lot of mythology references... I wish I'd loved this more.

Plot: ★★★
World: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★

Goblin King is the second book in the Permafrost duology. If you haven't read the first book, White Stag, please avoid this review as there are SPOILERS for the first book in the series. (You can read my review of White Stag here.)

The newbies gone? Good. Let's talk about this one.

So, first off, let me preface this by saying that it's been quite a while since I've read White Stag. Because of that—and how I felt while reading this sequel—I'm sadly coming to the conclusion that this series and my reading tastes have probably split up. Permanently. I'm not sure if it was the plot itself, the writing style, or the pacing but something about Goblin King really didn't work for me.

For those reasons alone, please take this review with several grains of salt. I'd encourage other readers to still pick up this book if it sounds of interest!

In this sequel, we're following Janneke and Soren as they try to come to terms with the new world order in the Permafrost following the explosive ending of White Stag.

Janneke merged her life force with the mythical heart of the land, the stag, in order to save the Permafrost realm and become one with her goblin beau, Soren. He became the Erlking—goblin king—and she his magical stag counterpart.

But all is not perfect in the goblin realm. Janneke is seeing and hearing the specter of her dead past abuser, Lydian, and he's taunting her with some bad news—he says that Janneke is going to bring about the end of the world.

Turns out, he's not wrong.

Now faced with a world ending prophecy of EPIC proportions, Janneke and Soren must lean on each other, venture to the underworld, and figure out how to fix what's already set in motion....before it's too late.

My thoughts:
Now I don't know if I was an ignorant newb when I read White Stag, but this sequel was essentially a retelling of Ragnarok—and I DON'T remember this series relying so heavily on Norse mythology. Yes, you heard me correctly: the Norse myth. We had Hel, Frigga, the world-ending serpent, and a lot of references to the nine realms and Yggdrasil.

Because of that, the plot felt quite tired to me from the get-go. It's hard to get excited about a plot when you know the main players and the steps of the game... and when it seems like a total hit out of left field in the first place. Again, I wasn't expecting that element to be so tied to existing myths so that's either on me (for forgetting the first book so much) or on the book (for executing a complete 180 flip in priorities).

In addition to a plot that felt well-traveled, I also had quite a few personal issues with the way the pacing unfolded. We had a lot talking, rehashing, and limited action sequences as Janneke explained, then explained again, and then explained AGAIN to various characters and herself what had occurred in the novel so far. This was tiring. I wanted more developed plot, less debriefing after each new action, and less internal rehashing of old concepts.

Overall, not for me... but maybe a treat for a newer YA fantasy reader or someone very interested in Norse myths.

Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews590 followers
July 23, 2020
Every bit as masterfully written as WHITE STAG, Kara Barbieri’s GOBLIN KING feels like more than the continuation of a fabulous tale, but the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of these amazing characters!
As Janneke discovers that reining in the power she possesses is seemingly beyond her grasp. Is there a reason she is caught in limbo? Her world is dying and her tormentor may hold the key to saving it and unlocking her powers, but isn’t he dead? Janneke must play roulette with the wheel of life, her own happiness in the balance, is she worthy of the spirit of the Stag? Must she confront Lydian and trust him to help her from beyond the veil? Will it cost her everything she holds dear?

Razor-taut, filled to the brim with a world of fantasy-come-to-life, GOBLIN KING is an action-packed tale of turmoil, trust and taking chances when it is difficult to believe in oneself.

Written with passion, Kara Barbieri has clearly poured her love of her craft, her characters and her world into another spellbinding addition to the series! Original, intense and completely engaging!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Wednesday Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Series: Permafrost - Book 2
Publisher: Wednesday Books (November 3, 2020)
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
Print Length: 320 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Jane.
928 reviews56 followers
November 17, 2020
3.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is the second book in a fascinating YA Fantasy series. In this book, Janneke comes to grips with her new power as the mantle, making her an equal to Soren, who is now the Erlking. Her power comes with disturbing visions of the future, which sends Janneke and her companions on a dangerous journey to save the world.

Along with visions, Janneke's tormentor Lydian taunts her despite being dead. She can hear him in her thoughts, and as the purpose of her visions becomes clear, she discovers she must work with him if she has any hope of saving the world. This strains everyone's nerves, and puts Janneke's relationship with Soren in danger.

I was hoping there would be more worldbuilding in this book, but there isn't. That is disappointing. This book dealt with relationships more than action, although there is some action toward the middle and end of the book. Once again, the author provides a lot of Jannek's inner dialogue. She's a bit more confidant, but is still riddled with feelings of inadequacy, particularly with respect to her mantle abilities. This book seems a bit slower than the first book, but we do get more character interaction, which was fun to read. I liked getting to know the minor characters a bit more, and enjoyed reading about their relationships with each other, as well as the main characters.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for a free digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
999 reviews782 followers
November 2, 2020
It’s been so long since I read White Stag, but I remember enjoying it overall. As such, I was very much looking forward to this sequel.

Unfortunately, I found myself thoroughly disappointed.

Both the story and characters fell flat in this installment, with no emotional connection, no sense of urgency, and way too questions being asked with very few being answered.

I don’t think there was anything inherently wrong with the writing, but it failed to establish or decide on a specific tone. This, I believe, is what caused the disconnect for me. Everything the characters were encountering should’ve been serious, dire blah blah but it never felt that way to me. It all felt more like a series of unfortunate inconveniences that I knew would all be overcome in a number of pages, and as expected they basically all were.

I might have to bow out of this series. Because I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t have enough time to keep giving out chances, not when there are so many books and series out there to check out.

I received a free ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy to read and review!
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 4 books76 followers
November 14, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley, Kara Barbieri, St. Martin’s Press, and Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read Goblin King in exchange for an honest review.

Goblin King is the second installment to the Permafrost series following White Stag. I loved White Stag and thought the premise was quite enjoyable, so I was greatly looking forward to reading the sequel. Alas, there were a few things that made this book a little lackluster.

Let’s talk about the plot first. This picks up where the first book left off in that Soren is now the Erlking and Janneke is now the Stag. Lydian still haunts Janneke’s mind, and when she learns that she and Soren will be the bringers of Ragnarok, they must go to Hel to find Lydian’s shade to help stop it, as Janneke isn’t quite able to tune in to her Stag powers just yet.

There is a good amount of Norse mythology mixed in, as there were in the first book. That’s fine and fun. So why do I give this book a 3/5? There were just a couple of things that really lowered my reception of this book. One was the characterization. It didn’t feel quite as strong as the first book, with the characters not really feeling quite right. Lydian didn’t feel like the sinister nasty as the first book, and he should not have been as mellow as he was. Janneke felt very immature. Yes her body reflects that of a 17 or 18-year-old girl from when she was brought into the Permafrost, but she has been living there for well over 100 years, and she just felt too childish. While this is an ARC that I read, there was an exponential amount of errors that astounded me. And this book was previously published in 2016, so it should not have as many errors as it did. Hopefully, these will be resolved before the US edition is published.

The end of the book is both wholesome and offers up the potential for a third installment. Would I read the third one if it comes into existence? Sure! Would I care if I never read the third installment? That’s fine too. This book was okay, though White Stag was fantastic. While I don’t highly recommend the second novel in the Permafrost series, I do still highly suggest checking out the first novel, as that felt like a wonderful adventure and was extremely exciting to read.
Profile Image for Inkslinger.
232 reviews38 followers
November 9, 2020
Goblin King: A Permafrost Novel (Permafrost #2) by Kara Barbieri

ARC provided by Wednesday Books/St. Martin's Press and Kara Barbieri via NetGalley. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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11-09: 'Goblin King; A Permafrost Novel' by Kara Barbieri is the follow-up to 'White Stag,' a story that had intrigued me from the get-go.

Janneke is our main character. A human girl who was a thrall, one of the slaves of the previous Erlking, that has become the new Stag.. a magical, liminal creature.. meant to maintain the balance of their world. With the previous Erlking defeated, if not quite dead.. her partner Soren rules the kingdom. The two are meant to connect with each other through the mantle of the Stag, making them a natural team as well as a romantic couple.

Unfortunately, all is not well. Lydian, the previous Erlking, isn't really gone. In fact, he's lingering in Janneke's mind and driving her a little nuts. Not unusual I suppose, since he was a madman himself.

In attempting to deal with his presence, however, Janneke discovers some truly disturbing truths about his madness and the actions he paid for with his life. While she can't forgive him for the ways he chose to go about things, she begins to at least understand his intentions. Their world is in jeopardy and in his own twisted ways, he was trying to protect it.

If I'm being entirely honest, between the cover and the synopsis for both books.. the story came across as something dark and ethereal. I never got to reading the series debut, but I'm good about picking up partway into a series, adapting quickly to the story, and going from there. So, it certainly wasn't confusion that kept me from connecting with this one.

I've said it before and I have to say it again, in hindsight.. I've discovered this author is from Wattpad and if I'd known that before I decided to read the book, I wouldn't have done so at all. It's not that I have anything against Wattpad writers in general, but rather that every Wattpad author I've read has been a huge disappointment. They're consistently underdeveloped as writers and in this case at least, the shoe fits.

This story could have been fantastic. The elements are interesting, from the Stag which is pretty much just the 'Spirit of the Forest' from Princess Mononoke, if less purely benevolent.. to the Goblin patriarchy, there's a lot to work with here. The problem it runs into is lack of real writing skill. Plot points are relatively few and far between, as pages and pages pass by filled with fluff you don't need or care to read. Dialogue is bland and unimpassioned, characters are cartoonish stereotypes, and the language overall is just severely lacking.

While the basic 'structure' of a novel is there.. and I do mean the very basic.. minimum expectations, it reads like someone with 6th grade vocabulary and complexity wrote the book.. and it failed to invest me on any level. Sadly, I will be avoiding this author in the future.

Profile Image for Kate.
Author 15 books822 followers
January 2, 2021
Now that Janneke is the physical incarnation of the Stag, and Soren is the Erlking, they find themselves part of a prophecy that means they cannot touch each other without destroying each other and the world. Plus there's the pesky problem of Lydian being stuck inside Janneke's head. Despite Lydian's torment, he tells the truth, and Janneke knows she must go on a quest to stop the end, which means fighting lots of different monsters, all of whom make Lydian look like a cakewalk...

This story is highly readable and full of adventure. I'd forgotten about the sarcastic humor from the first book, which made this a lot of fun. There were a lot of battles, so many that I almost forgot about why and what the prophecy said. My favorite part was when Janneke was trapped in the roots and living alternate lives, it helped me connect to her character and reminded me of her beginnings in book one. The ending left me thinking there will be a third book, but most of the plotlines were wrapped up nicely.
Profile Image for Serena.
616 reviews32 followers
February 19, 2021
My thanks to NetGalley and publishers of Goblin King for granting my request of a eARC, this review in exchange comes with my now regular apology for the delay.

Goblin King begins where White Stag left off, Soren is Erlking, Jeanneke is the Stag and Lydian is dead. Or is he? Jeanneke now hears his voice, recalling his visions of the ending of the world he tried to prevent by hurting Jeanneke.

And, worse, those visions prove true. With the help of Diaval's goblin magic, and with Seppo and Rosamund (or Rose, who's secrets entwined with Soren and Lydian) the two set out for Hel's realm to stop the end of the worlds and they'll need Lydian's help to do that.

I enjoyed the tour of Hel's realm, the many lives Jeanneke could have lived as shown to her by the roots of Yggdrasil, Hel herself, the dead, the serpent Nidhogg, the eagle Hraesvelg and the rooster Fjalar who they try to stop from making the three cries that begin Ragnarok.

The reign of Soren and Jeanneke is just beginning and it may be a war that ends the worlds and ends them, or, maybe - hopefully, not.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,408 reviews191 followers
March 30, 2021
Goblin King picks up from the events of the end of White Stag about a year later. Janneke is still figuring out how to fit in with the Erl King's court and unlocking these new powers she has as the stag. The ghost of Lydian has been haunting her for several months and Janneke is at her wits end. She knows she needs to tell Soren, but she feels like this is something she has to handle alone. When Janneke finds out that she and Soren may have inadvertently started Ragnorak, they'll have to trust Lydian's shade to guide them on how to stop it.

This book was a huge adventure! Instead of a hunt, we have a quest! There are also two new MCs: Rose (Seppo's boyfriend), and Daeval (spelling?), a female goblin who can do magic. I loved Janneke and Daeval's friendship, they were so amazing. I just need more female friendships and more friendships in general and this book delivered that.

While book 1 was pretty light on Norse mythology, this book dives right in. Our group of misfits first has to travel to Helheim and deal with her. And several other unfriendly people. I really loved this continuation of the series. I will say I was expecting this to be the end of the series, so the "plot twist" at the end was a bit jarring.
Profile Image for Ally (AllyEmReads).
677 reviews45 followers
February 8, 2021
I don’t know if I enjoyed this book more or less than the first one. I appreciated all of the references to Nordic mythology of course, but I felt like too much was going on? Like the author tried to address too much all at once, so instead of answering all the questions, it just felt like it was a jumble of things that weren’t solved. But I’m interested in seeing how the next book will play out, because with that epilogue there’s no way there won’t be a third installment.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
1,843 reviews10 followers
September 11, 2020
I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can also be found on *Milky Way of Books*

I enjoyed the sequel! As I had with White Stag this story is filled with mysteries and action and humor as both Janneke and Soren try to navigate their new positions of power and their growing dread as something far more sinister threatens Permafrost...and the world.

The mix of nordic mythology and the culture of the goblins was fascinating to read and the travels the gang had as they tried to solve the mysteries behind Janneke's dreams and the threat of Ragnarok.

The ending despite its seemingly good resolve gave me a cliffhanger that was very very terrifying!
Profile Image for Lauren James  (storied.adventures).
367 reviews40 followers
December 10, 2020
Full review on my blog, Storied Adventures!

I LOVED White Stag. But this one was a bit of a let down.
I loved the adventure and fighting Norse mythological creatures while saving the world. So freaking cool.
BUT there was no chemistry between me and the characters or between the characters themselves. There was no heat between Janneke and Soren this time.

I still can't wait for the next book though!
Profile Image for Ashley.
567 reviews13 followers
August 30, 2020
The publisher provided me with the opportunity to read this in exchange for providing feedback. (via NetGalley)

Somewhere between 3 to 3.5 stars. I didn't really enjoy this one as much as the first.. I feel like nothing really happened?
Profile Image for Julia | TheReadingConspiracy.com.
145 reviews9 followers
December 29, 2018
I loved the first story in the series, White Stag, so much! So much so that I was trying to figure out when the second book would be released even though the first hadn’t officially been published and to my absolute delight, I discovered it on Wattpad.

Although I read Goblin King online and not an official published copy or ARC, I still devoured it. I will definitely reread this when it does come to an official book format because it was just that good. I love the world the author created and all of her characters in it. They’re so relatable, even though they’re goblins and otherworldly creatures, does that make sense? Probably not. But it just works.

Check out my full review and others on The Reading Conspiracy: https://www.thereadingconspiracy.com
Profile Image for Melissa Mitchell.
Author 10 books193 followers
November 21, 2020
“ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴛʀᴏɴɢᴇꜱᴛ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴡᴇ ᴅᴏ ᴀʟʟ ᴅᴀʏ ɪꜱ ᴡᴀᴋᴇ ᴜᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ɢᴇᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏꜰ ʙᴇᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴏɴᴛɪɴᴜᴇ ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ꜰɪɢᴜʀɪɴɢ ᴏᴜᴛ ɴᴇᴡ ᴡᴀʏꜱ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʜɪɴɢꜱ ᴡᴇ ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴅɪᴅ.”—Kara Barbieri

Rich with Norse mythology, this sequel explores some of the unanswered questions from White Stag. Against all odds, Janneke and Soren have become the Stag and Erlking. While they may have won the hunt, the war for the fate of the world has just begun. “What happens when the serpent stops eating its tail?” Lyndian’s famous question is the new focus. And Lydian might be the key they need, even though they sent his soul to Hel. That would mean navigating the other worlds to find him and destroy the harbinger of Ragnarok. Everything comes at a cost.

Healing, adventure, and unforgettable friendships are the central focus of this installment. But my favorite aspect was the depth of Norse Mythology portrayed throughout. Goblin King dives deep. Yggdrasil, the tree of life, is the main focus as readers are taken on a journey through the realms of the gods. This installment is centered more around adventure and saving the world, instead of romance. However, Janneke and Soren’s relationship is tested. It also didn’t feel as poetic as the first book, and moved a bit slower in the beginning. For example, in the first book, I highlighted line after line of great text. This one, I didn’t find myself highlighting much.

In terms of internal conflict, Janneke is forced to work with Lyndian, the goblin who ruined her life. This is a struggle through which we see her grow. No one should ever have to face someone like Lydian, but Janneke puts aside her pain. She does what needs to be done to save the world. This shows a level of mature growth. Soren, too, faces his own struggles. I liked that we saw him forced into a more difficult position this time around. His character was truly tested.

And of course, I have to mention Rose and Seppo. I loved those two. They were sort of the comic relief, because Seppo’s sense of humor and sarcasm. But they added a great dynamic to the story. Aside from Janneke and Soren, they were my other two favorite characters.

While I read White Stag in two sittings, this one took about a week. I really didn’t enjoy it as much as the first. Maybe that’s the romantic in me. When there’s a heavy romance storyline, I find myself devouring. This one was much slower. But it also didn’t have as much suspense. IMO, the one thing it really had going for it was the rich portrayal of the Norse mythology.

If you’re a Norse mythology lover, this one is for you! Since I already own the hardcover of White Stag, I’m going to go ahead and purchase the hardcover of Goblin King, even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. The story does leave off in a way that suggested a definite third book. Will I read it? Probably, since I’m invested. MY RATING:3/5⭐️

A huge thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eARC.

25 Book Reviews
Professional Reader
Profile Image for Taylor - Muse Ignited Reads.
425 reviews19 followers
November 19, 2020
This was one of those sequels where I was a little nervous to read it because I LOVED the first one so much and just couldn't imagine anything better in a continuation. I needn't have worried. Where the first one was bolstered by the romantic tension this one doesn't feel its lack. If anything this one sunk its claws into me even deeper. Any author who can suck me into emotionally precarious places is a winner in my book (AKA - I teared up in this one, and that almost never happens to me, especially in a Fantasy read).

It starts out a little slow as we warm up with our characters new situations and a few additions to the cast, but once the gauntlet is thrown and we know what must happen (nothing less than preventing Ragnarok), it jets off at livelier pace and adds in some great action adventure sequences in some very cool locals (the underworld, the roots of the world tree, the list goes on...). The Fae are very on trend in Fantasy right now, but I like Barbieri's take on the Goblin's who people her world - and while essentially "Fae-esque", these Goblins, like their environment the frozen Permafrost, are decidedly more savage and harsh - and you can feel a little bit of the Nordic influence in their characterization and their Viking/Raider mentality. Both the characters, character types, and creatures/gods are all a little different and unusual in Barbieri's careful hands, their renditions often a study in contrasts and the interesting/unexpected.

I think I am finally getting a vibe on her as an author and I really appreciate her blend of hard action and realism as well as sentimentality (especially in terms of character emotions and confrontations) - her Permafrost is both Brutal and Dreamy....and I love that.
Profile Image for Jade.
642 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2021
This was a random book I picked up at the library, and I'm just thankful I didn't actually spend money on it.

The book was written by an early-20s fanfiction website author, and it has 'teen fanfiction website author' written in every sentence. I feel like this was more an advertisement to get people onto Wattpad than any literary prowess from the author. With whole paragraphs dedicated to (paraphrased) 'It didn't feel like I was falling, but I should have felt like I was falling, but it felt like I was rising, but it didn't seem like I was falling', and pages upon pages of plot and characters that I had ZERO interest in, this book is a real winner.

The characters had NO personality and I honestly didn't care if any of them died. I didn't care much about the plot at all. I honestly don't even really understand what happened at the end. Was that good? Was that bad? Should I care? Most of the major plot points were written in a few sentences, with the following pages discussing the 'no, I hate myself more than you hate yourself' contests between the two main characters. Self loathing? Check! Random references to abuse? Check! Eating disorders? Double check! All mixed in with a pointless plot and a very clear concept that the author simply wanted to write about these subjects and try to make them trendy and relevant, without actually having the skill of a decent author.

These kinds of books are trending right now, and they're all basically the same. Except this one isn't. Because while the other books are engaging and the characters make you sob, even if the plot is hokey, this one was lacking in anything other than 'mental health issues are trendy' propaganda that can easily be found in other books that aren't titled something as inconspicuous as "Goblin King".
Profile Image for Skye ~ Court of Binge Reading.
412 reviews69 followers
November 17, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

3.5 stars

Goblin King is the sequel to White Stag, the first book in the Permafrost series. I was a big fan of the first book; it was such an interesting, captivating book. I read it in one sitting. If you read White Stag a while ago and you’re worried about not remembering everything that happened in the book, don’t worry. The author does a great job of recapping the events of book one. You’ll quickly remember why you enjoyed the first book so much. But, in case you don’t quite remember, allow me to remind you that this world is very dark and brutal. If you’re looking for an uplifting, happy book, then this is not the book for you. Janneke, the main character, is still trying to heal from her prior trauma that occurred in the first book.

The first thing you should know about Goblin King is that it’s more of an adventure book. The characters have to go on a quest to Hel when they realize they’re the only ones who can prevent Ragnarok from starting. I forgot how much I loved these characters until I picked this book up. If you’re a fan of the found family trope, then you’ll love these characters. Their banter is very entertaining—especially because Goblins don’t really understand sarcasm. Romance lovers, there is some romance in this book. Janneke and Soren are officially a couple in this book. However, their relationship is not without its faults. Neither of them is skilled in being vulnerable, which leads them to have issues with communication.

One thing you should know, there is going to be another book in this series. When I picked up Goblin King, I thought it was going to be the last book, but I was wrong. So, you should go in expecting this book to not resolve everything since there will be another book.

Other than that, all I have to say is that I enjoyed this book. I love the characters so much! I can’t wait for the next book.

TW: mention of rape, death of an infant, suicide, death/sacrifice of an animal, talk of an eating disorder, talk of depression, dark themes
Profile Image for Veronica.
683 reviews15 followers
November 25, 2020
When I requested this book, for some reason I did not realize that it was the second book in a series. Some books can be read in any order but this one definitely should be read in sequence in order to be able to follow the story properly. Otherwise it feels a bit like jumping into the middle of a movie. That being said, I was still interested in the story line and found the writing to be fluid. The author drew me in enough for me to want to read the first book in the series. I actually have the first book now and plan to start reading it this weekend. It should be noted that I don't usually do this with most series that I have read out of order unless the book I read was very promising and interested me enough to want to finish the book. I really like stories that involve mythology and I am already intrigued by the idea of goblins who are quite different than the ones typically written about in books such as Lord of the Rings. I recommend this series to anyone who is interested in YA mythology and fantasy. It is definitely an orginal read for me.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,316 reviews215 followers
December 20, 2020
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so I read White Stag about two-ish years ago. So I'm going to admit that I didn't dive back into that book before diving into Goblin King. Definitely took a risk and I think it worked out for me in the end.

Due to this being the sequel, I assumed that this picked up right where the first book left me (which was a cliffhanger no doubt). So you will still be following Janneke and Soren but they are on a new journey. She is one with the stag and he's the goblin king. There was also some kind of harry potter prophecy that she was going to bring doom to the world.. yada yada nonsense.

I'm not going to lie, a lot happened throughout this entire book. Like so much. Not all good either because some things that happened were just a bit weird to me. Then there's Janneke and I'm not sure what happened to her between the books because she was rubbing me the wrong way in this one.

Not sure if there's going to be another book or not, but if there is - then I would like to see a bit more character growth and maturity. Maybe even some tension and twists/turns. I just want more.
Profile Image for Amie.
697 reviews31 followers
November 28, 2020
Thank you to Netgalley, Kara, and Wednesday Books for an advance copy of Goblin King.

This is book two in the Permafrost series. My review for book 1, White Stag, can be found on my blog. This review may be slim, as I try to avoid spoilers from book 1.

Goblin King picks up about a year after the Hunt ends, with Janneke and Soren working through the outcome and revelations. Facing a perilous journey, our core two team up with some old and new characters to travel into the unknown and attempt to save the world as they know it.

Once again, Kara Barbieri weaves a beautiful world of mythology and fantasy. I still don’t *love* Janneke, but there has been obvious growth since book 1, which I appreciate. It was very cool to see the layers of Lydian coming out, as well. The supporting cast was fun to get to know, there was an appropriate amount of depth while trying to keep the story moving along.

The story itself was paced nicely and remained interesting throughout…moreso than book 1, I believe. I really think that Kara’s writing is just going to continue to progress and impress. My one big negative from this one is that it was not as harsh as book 1. We were given such a brutal landscape with brutal characters and this one felt more like a PG rated world than R. I’m hoping in the future we get some of those rough edges back…maybe even in Janneke as she continues to grow into her role with the Permafrost.
Profile Image for Kasia.
100 reviews24 followers
August 8, 2021
I love this world and hope more books are coming...
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