Saturday, July 15, 2017

Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

by Molly Ringle
Central Avenue Publishing
YA Fantasy
288 pages

OCTOBER 1st, 2017!!!

A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti's eerie, sensual poem, "Goblin Market." Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters...

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.


After seeing the gorgeous cover and reading the blurb, I knew I had to get my hands on this one.

Thanks to an ancient family agreement, Kit is bound to keep relations with the goblins for his entire life--a secret he doesn't exactly share with anyone. When a late gold delivery on his part ends up with an innocent young woman, Skye, being cursed, things get difficult. Especially when she ends up dragging his younger brother into the curse. Luckily, Livy, Skye's older sister, knows something is off and wants to help, but she's not sure what's even wrong, since Skye isn't allowed to explain anything. Somehow, Kit is going to have to accidentally stumble onto the real problem at heart. Too bad, time is running out.

First off, kudos to the cover designer! This one is so original and brings across the perfect atmosphere before the first page is read. Unfortunately, this was also by far my most favorite part of the book.

This is a retelling of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, and in many ways, does a great job at holding up to to it. The scene surrounding the goblins and their undertakings is beautiful and slightly haunting at the same time. Set in the mountains, the nature seeps off the page, bringing forest odors, sights and sounds to life. The situation that Kit finds himself in immediately draws in and demands sympathy, while the goblins come across as dangerous yet curiously interesting at the same time. None of this is fast moving, but slowly draws into the circumstances and characters, allowing the chance for the entire thing to gain depth.

But it was not for me.

Although the start is intriguing and lures in, as soon as Skye is hit with the curse, the creepy goblin side all but comes to a stand still until it suddenly picks up again toward the end. Skye is caught in a difficult spot; she's unable to express herself and is being drawn deeper and deeper into the curse. Her thoughts and feelings pull in, but the goblins themselves are left to the side--and just then when I really wanted to see more of them. Instead, an odd romance starts between Skye and Kit's brother as she accidently-ish draws him into her curse. The two are drawn to each other, but since this attraction is also influenced by the curse, it's hard for the real sparks to gain ground. And that despite all the 'tense' and 'nearing' scenes. This was also the main chunk of the book, which drown the creepy delight that the goblins could have played. As said, it just wasn't my thing even though the world and writing itself are actually interesting and, in many spots, very well done.

A couple saving graces were the flip-flop on girl/guy ages. The guys were younger than the girls, something not often seen. Also, the wonderful sisterly love Livy gives at the end to swing the curse around hits the heart full thrust and makes her, possibly, the best sister ever.

Although I can't give it a complete thumbs up, I realize that others do love this book and have to admit that it does have a lot of merit. Just not the kind I prefer to read.

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