Menu

The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell

8/10 Brutal, gritty... and enormous fun.

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!

Review by

15+

The Goblin Corps reader reviews

8.1/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

More reviews of Ari Marmell books

Books you may also enjoy


Beren and Luthien

JRR Tolkien
9.5/10

Baptism of Fire

Andrzej Sapkowski
9.5/10

The Fall of Gondolin

JRR Tolkien
9.5/10

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski
9.0/10

The Story of Kullervo

JRR Tolkien
9.0/10

Death Angel's Shadow

Karl Edward Wagner
8.8/10

Glammenport

Kevin Lane
8.7/10

Darkness Weaves

Karl Edward Wagner
8.5/10

Following reviews


Blue Fire Burning

Hobb Whittons
8.4/10

Bloodshot

Cherie Priest
8.8/10

Forgive My Fins

Tera Lynn Childs
8.6/10

Blood Ninja

Nick Lake
7.5/10

The Assassin's Edge

Juliet E McKenna
8.5/10

The Walkers of Legend

Miles Allen
9.0/10

The Difference Engine

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
9.2/10

Rage of Lions

Curtis Jobling
9.0/10