The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell
It’s a somewhat overused cliché readily found in most adventure fiction; as the villainous mastermind’s plans crumble thanks to his minions’ ineptitude, he’ll utter the well-worn phrase, “Why am I surrounded by idiots?” Just as true is the idea that villains are the most fun for the writer to write and the reader to read. After all, who cares for the dull hero when there’s an especially devilish baddie reeking havoc with relentless abandon? They get the best costumes, too.
Ari Marmell exploits these truisms to significant effect. The Goblin Corps presents the baddies point of view, but far from being a slick operation, our anti-heroes – no, our villains - are incompetent backstabbers, unreliable maniacs and enormous fun to be around.
The novel has a smart central conceit. It starts where the story should end – with evil doers defeated and the heroes triumphant. A band of warriors, formed by Morthûl, The Charnel King, and called The Demon Squad originate after the forces of good foil a finely wrought plan to allow him to take over the world. Fearing an attack by the heroes that will finish him off permanently, he formulates a last ditch plan to prevent his own demise.
The squad is made up of a diverse and well-characterised bunch of protagonists. Craeosh the Orc is the leader in all but name, and the rest of his band include an ogre, a bugbear, troll, doppelganger, Kobold and a gremlin. An imp demon serves to train them as they prepare for battle. Marmell wisely allows us to get to know each member of the team before they are placed together as a – somewhat dysfunctional – unit and this pays off enormously as personality clashes and differing outlooks create comedic tension later in the narrative.
As humorous as the premise might be and as funny as the characters are, there is also a gritty and, at times, very tough side to The Goblin Corps. The violence is extremely brutal in places and Marmell doesn’t spare us when it comes to the richly described gore which often flows enthusiastically from the page.
Of special note is the vivid and enticing cover, illustrated by Lucas Graciano. It’s a beautifully detailed piece that captures the darkly comedic tone of the novel perfectly.
With his third full length novel, Marmell is clearly having fun with a genre he loves. It’s a great pleasure to be able to join in the fun!
This The Goblin Corps book review was written by Jonathan Wilkins
Have you read The Goblin Corps?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Goblin Corps reader reviews
8.1/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Baptism of Fire
The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, Geralt was seriously injured. The Witcher is supposed to be a guardian of the innocent, a protector of th...
The Story of Kullervo
The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who...
Death Angel's Shadow
Karl Edward Wagner
Kane is battling the prophet of an ancient cult of evil and confronting the demons of darkness on his journeys. He faces death duels in strange swamps, assassin's attac...
Timion the Black has exhausted his options. Reckless, despicable, Timion’s own band of mercenary men turn against him, leaving him for dead in a back alleyway. Fate d...
The Sword of Truth Series
Richard Cypher holds the fate of three nations in his hands, he must learn the Wizard's First Rule to achieve his goals. The heart hounds are stalking the humans, blood...
Karl Edward Wagner
Kane - indestructible swordsman, invincible sorcerer, immortal wanderer through strange worlds. Efrel, Empress of Pellin, seeks vengeance on the King of Thovnos and chooses...
The Children Of Hurin
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, this illustrated paperback of the epic ...
Lenk and his band of murderous misfits are loathed by society, spurned by all merciful gods, and motivated only by their distrust of each other. Hired to track down a stole...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: