I have to admit, I wavered about the decision to read this book quite a bit. I love reading about uncommon supernatural creatures, so that was a major draw, but the fact that the goblins were just side characters/antagonists had me less excited. I also feared the book would be too slow-paced for my recent difficulty concentrating. But I like retellings, and “Goblin Market” is an interesting, weird little poem, so I decided to go for it. And it turned out to be a great book that I didn’t want to put down! So, here is a list of all the things I liked:
– This was somewhat slow-paced, but I never had any trouble getting into it.
– The characters were the best thing—they were so lovable!—which is great since the book was a very character-focused one. I especially loved Livy (the protagonist). She wasn’t afraid to make a move or be direct in discussing her relationship with Kit. She was also a great sister, a good person, and someone who loved nature. Kit was the one I found the most interesting, kind of gruff and scruffy, but he was also such a charmer. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been charmed by a character, but I was a little bit smitten with him on Livy’s behalf. I could totally see why Livy was into him. Skye was the hardest to get to know because her personality was so muted behind the curse, but I thought she was smart for trying to find a loophole and then felt bad for the guilt she felt when it kind of backfired. As for Grady, he was just an adorable sweetheart. He also had ears that stuck out, and I loved it (as did Skye) because I’m always thinking about how I want more characters who are realistic-looking instead of airbrushed “perfect.” And I felt for all the characters with what they were having to deal with. They were a little on the perfect side, but it worked for me.
– I loved that both Livy and Kit had unique jobs you don’t see often in books. Livy was a scientist who worked in the Forest Service, so she did lots of stuff out and about in the forest, and Kit was an auto mechanic/wood carver. Even Skye and Grady has somewhat interesting aspirations since Skye was an artist/barista and Grady wanted to be a chef. There wasn’t that much about any of their jobs in the story, I just thought they were unique enough to be worth mentioning.
– I shipped both couples. The romance between Skye and Grady was started because of the goblin curse that basically made them be attracted to each other, but it was clear they would’ve liked each other anyway.
– This book was sex positive in that no character was ever portrayed in a negative light for their sexual histories/choices, no character ever tried to police anyone else’s decisions since they were all adults, and condoms were always used. (There was nothing too explicit though. A bit of kissing/touching and then a fade-to-black.)
– The author says this book was inspired by “Goblin Market,” but, to me, this was a true retelling (well, one way of doing a retelling). She took the original poem, altered it a bit to create her own version, then completely expanded it to include more characters, character development, relationships, a plot, and all the details. But she still kept the heart of the poem, which was the bond between sisters.
– Even though the goblins were the bad guys, they still featured in the book quite a bit. This was the first book I’d ever read about these particular creatures, but I thought it was a neat portrayal with the paths in the forest and the treehouse dwellings and the shifting.
– So much nature! But it makes sense because, as the author pointed out in the afterword, so many of the myths we know were created to explain natural phenomenon. But anyway, all the stuff about the forest was cool, and the underwater stuff was especially cool. That was possibly my favorite scene because something like that *SPOILER* (walking across the bottom of a 100-ft body of water in a magical air bubble and getting to see all the sea creatures) *END SPOILER* would be so incredibly interesting but also so incredibly terrifying, and I felt like the author captured those two feelings perfectly. And I think it was the setting and all the nature stuff that made the book very atmospheric with a kind of magical, secluded feel.
The only negative thing I have to say is that one aspect of the ending didn’t feel quite realistic. *SPOILER* I feel like the characters got over the whole experience a little too quickly/easily, especially Skye. *END SPOILER*
Overall though, I loved this book! It was character-focused, unique, and a great story about goblins, romance, and the bond between two sisters.
Anyone who likes character-focused books, lovable characters, fairly clean romance, uncommon paranormal creatures, and sisterly love.
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.