Pros: Clever plotting
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Jim C. Hines’s Goblin Hero (Goblin Series) brings us back to the tale of Jig, a hapless goblin who ended up an accidental hero in Goblin Quest. Even though he didn’t kill the dragon himself, people are calling him “Jig Dragonslayer” and expecting great things from him. His relationship to the forgotten god Tymalous Shadowstar grows, and he’s known as a healer among the goblins. Jig gets sent to aid the ogres, who are being enslaved in the wake of the previous tale. Meanwhile, Veka–another goblin who gets bullied a lot–is determined to become a hero, using a book called “The Path of the Hero” as her guidebook. She’s also determined to become a powerful sorcerer, despite the fact that she has yet to get magic to work for her. Jig will once again have to step forth in the role of hero in order to save the ogres, the goblins, and everyone else, from the new and dangerous creatures who have come to replace the dragon.
If you feel you may be a Reluctant Hero, you are advised to go forth into the world as soon as you can. It may be your only chance to protect your loved ones from the cruel, crushing hand of destiny.
The characters in Hero are definitely better than those in Quest. As much as I love the first book, some of the characters–particularly toward the beginning–fall flat. In Hero they have much more dimension. I particularly love the depiction of Pixies (I don’t want to risk saying too much about them–just that they’re fascinating and curious folks).
I love that we get to see more of Jig’s relationship with the Shadowstar. Tymalous is trying to nudge Jig farther down a path, but Jig is still mostly a scared goblin at heart. Sometimes the god has to get a bit creative to keep things going. It’s one of the most unusual and fun god/follower relationships I’ve ever seen.
The pacing of Hero is delightful and the plotting is quite clever. Hines takes things a few steps past what I expected, stringing and twisting together improbable heroics and certain death. I absolutely recommend reading the Goblin series, for the fun fantasy milieu as well as the hilarious heroics.