Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Pub. Date: 1 October 2017
Genre: Modern Fantasy, Retelling, New Adult
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
I received this electronic Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Inspired by Christina Rossetti’s “The Goblin Market,” Molly Ringle retold it with the addition of two love interests. In Puget Sound, Washington, one young woman, Skye Darwen, remembers hearing the fairy folk when she was little and came upon them again as an adult. The goblins curse her with becoming one of them, leaving her depressed and hardly able to communicate. Livy Darwen, her older sister, tries everything to help her but grows frustrated about how this happened. Kit Sylvain would understand what happened to her because of an inherited contract that makes him the human liaison for the goblin tribe. As he starts dating Livy, he fails to notice Skye dragging his cousin, Grady Sylvain, into the curse. Left untouched by goblin magic, Livy is the only one who can fix this mess. The Goblins of Bellwater is a tale of love, family, and stealing.
I had high hopes for this book because I love “The Goblin Market,” but it was disappointing. The addition of romance did not help. The main disappointment for me is that it loses the intensity of the sisterly love, the difference in who hears the goblins, and temptation. I reached about one-third of the book and had to debate with myself if I was going to stop reading it there. I decided to finish it out. There was too much with the characters that was unrealistic (for fantasy) and absurd.
The characters all talk and think the same, and this isn’t helped by the omniscient narrator. They also fall under this mistake where it seems each person’s one hobby makes up their personality. Skye is just into art and coffee, since she’s a barista. Livy is a hard-facts scientist—except when she’s not—because of her work to protect and preserve nature. Kit is a mechanic with a “bad boy” edge because of his forced stealing for the goblins. Grady is an excellent cook. A job is not what encompasses the whole of a person.
I’m also disappointed by the goblins. With the exception of one, the goblins are the same in appearance, behavior and personality. Nothing truly differentiates one from another, except a necklace that no one pays attention to. Two things I did like were the names of goblins (based on the first thing they stole) and the mention of fae.
I want to talk about the sex scenes for a minute. While they do not go into detail or in scene, I was disturbed by the goblin magic’s control over sexual desire and the condoms. I understand the idea of some magical powers being so controlling, but it makes me uncomfortable for the magic to amplify feelings of pleasure and destroy any control over one’s body. On the subject of condoms, the way they were included in the story made it a surprise that they were there at all. By the way, Kit and Grady fit the stereotype of men having lots of sex with random women.
This is an okay new adult book, but I do not recommend it based on poor character development and it’s disappointing relation to the original poem.