While trying to save her brother from the witch three years ago, Greta was thrown into the fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon. To survive, 17-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape. But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil being knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the boys she finds stranded in the woods will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back . . .
I almost gave this book 4 stars, but after mulling it over I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. Greta and the Goblin King is an action-packed mix of many different tales: Hansel and Gretel, Peter Pan, The Princess and the Goblin, The Chronicles of Narnia, Labyrinth.
My two favorite parts were the concept itself and Isaac, the titular goblin king. At the age of thirteen, Greta finds herself transported to a snowy wasteland of a dimension called Mylena (which my Word Processor assumes is Mylanta) after saving her brother. n is a harsh place filled with goblins, ghouls, faeries, and sprites, and humankind is reviled. To survive, she must apprenticed herself as a bounty hunter. Four years later, Greta is fierce, cold, and losing her hope of ever escaping.
And now on to Isaac. Did you know a goblin could be hot? I sure didn’t. But they can. He confused the heck out of me with his ever-shifting moods and motives, not to mention his sublime creepiness, but there’s an intensity to his character that is very appealing. He has great chemistry with Greta. Together they are electric. My favorite scenes of all were the dream scenes. Isaac has access to Greta’s dreams (SO COOL, even if I did want a lot more explanation on this) and most of their interactions occur in their shared subconscious.
There is technically a love-triangle-ish thing. When Greta’s mentor is murdered with the name “Agramon” on his lips (which my Word Processor assumes is Aragorn), Greta’s humanity is revealed and suddenly she’s the most wanted creature in the land. And that’s when she runs into the other humans and their leader, Wyatt.
I LOVED the Lost Boys. Their personalities were vivid and their stories heartbreaking. Wyatt never really stood a chance, love-interest-wise, but I liked him. He’s sweet and brave and strong. Greta herself confused me, to be honest. I couldn’t get a handle on her in the beginning, and her motives continued to confuse me, but I think they were meant to. She keeps saying she’s changing, and she’s hardened, but she never really felt that way to me. Her continual rejection of the magnetic Isaac grew irritating. But she’s a kick-ass bounty hunter just trying to survive, and she’s pretty fierce.
There’s a great ticking time bomb in Mylena. When the eclipse occurs in seven days, every creature in the land basically loses their sh*t and transforms into a raging beast. The few details I did learn about Mylena were pretty fascinating, but I just wanted to know more. We spend a lot of time with Greta and the Lost Boys and Isaac, but if felt like there could have been more world-building. Parts felt rushed, and I found myself confused. I needed more information! Particularly with the ending. I still have no idea what really happened. Greta’s everyday life, the rules of Mylena, how all the various kingdoms work, who the freaking heck Agramon/the Lamia were: I actually wanted more info-dumping. And Agramon doesn’t quite deliver as a villain.
The other reason I couldn’t give this book 4 stars is the underdevelopment of some of the emotional bonds. I get that Greta is starting to forget her human life, but it would be much more powerful if she felt deeper pain over her lost family, particularly her little brother. He’s a BIG part of the story and we don’t even know him. We don’t love him like Greta keeps saying she does. The same with SPOILER. His death at the beginning has no impact for the reader, because we don’t know why Greta loves him.
But I definitely enjoyed this book. It’s fast-moving, adventurous, fun, dark, and intensely romantic. The plot sticks in the middle, but after that it rolls. Greta is an exciting heroine and I want more of both Isaac and the Lost Boys. I’ll for sure be checking out the sequel.