Review by D.W. Hawkins
Dance of the Goblins is a tale of two races that find themselves at odds with each other as events spin toward confrontation. Ms Hawkins spins a wonderful tale set in a future that has reverted to a rural society bereft of most modern technology. The remnants of the height of human ingenuity can be seen throughout the story, but mankind has forgotten most of what it knew. Unbeknownst to most humans, the Goblins live underground, avoiding the humans as much as possible and disparaging their destructive culture and distrustful nature. Caught between the races are a handful of people on both sides who will determine the fate of both peoples as events and forces conspire to force conflict.
Haghuf is an ancient and wise Goblin that is as close to a leader as a culture with no central government can get. Count Anton is the ruler of a village nearby and a magician, who develops a cautious friendship with Haghuf after the two of them stumble upon one another seemingly by chance. Talla is a Goblin female, inquisitive and enchanting, who soon discovers that the human world holds more of interest to her than she’d previously thought it would. Together, they will stumble down the path that is Dance of the Goblins.
Mr. Hawkins spins a very imaginative tale, and sets it in a world that is well thought out and interesting. He gradually informs the reader of the history of that world and the races that live inside of it, and does it in a way that keeps the reader interested. His prose is polished and flows naturally, and the author obviously holds himself to a high standard of editing and presentation – something that many indie authors have trouble with. Dance of the Goblins is a well polished and interesting book.
That being said, the book moves very slowly at times. This is mostly a matter of taste, but if you’re looking for hair-raising action, Dance of the Goblins falls a bit short. Though the world is very interesting and all the elements of the story are fleshed out and working, the story itself ambles along and takes awhile to catch the reader’s attention. However, if you’re looking for a good read that immerses you in an interesting world, Dance of the Goblins is for you.
Overall, I’m giving Dance of the Goblins seven out of ten stars. The characters, the realm, and the prose in this story were wonderful, and there are many underlying themes on racism, environmentalism, and tolerance that can be gleaned from the story. The way that mankind moves on a constant cycle of destruction during the story holds a deeper meaning that we could all listen to, and the issues involved in the book are definitely something that anyone could relate to. Still, the novel falls a bit short of exciting, so it loses a few points for me there. If you’re looking for a story that is interesting and deep while still being set in a fantasy realm, then Dance of the Goblins has what you’re looking for.
For more information on Jaq D. Hawkins and her work visit http://www.jaqdhawkins.co.uk/
Review by Floresiensis
Mike from Scotland
One of the unique things about this series is that you could start with either the first or second book, depending on whether you prefer exposition and world building or quick action, and still feel that you had read a full series. Dance of the Goblins is strong on world building and exposition. For LOTR fans, I recommend starting with this one because it will put you into a world you'll never want to leave. The goblins live underground, but after a planet flip that wipes out most of the human race, they take over old transport tunnels and live a little closer to the remaining human survivors. They still stay out of sight and live a shamanic and peaceful life, avoiding humans and the inevitable conflicts that happen anytime the two races meet. The humans have reverted to a feudal society and are ruled by a small group of magicians, led by Count Anton. The magicians know about the goblins and Anton is friends with a goblin who usually hates humans, but they share an interest in magic. Part of the goblin magic is that they express their spirituality in ecstatic dance, hence the title. When the common people find out about the goblins, Anton is caught between his uneasy friendship with them and his duty to keep his people from waging a suicidal war. Throughout the series, the writing is top notch and there are dragons! Mostly in the second and third books. The world building is truly astonishing to the point that I still hear drums beating when I write about the stories. Highly recommended to traditional Fantasy fans.
8.5/10 from 2 reviews