Title: Goblin Quest ( Jig the Goblin #1)
Author: Jim C Hines
Published: 7th November 2006
Hello my fellow Bookworms and page turners,
And we are back with another classic fantasy style read this week. Goblin Quest by Jim C Hines follows a Goblin, “Jig” who is a runt even by goblin standards, somehow finds himself on a perilous quest for the rod of creation.
As I am a fan of tabletop RPG’s such Dungeons & Dragons, I was pretty certain from the get go that this was going to be a read that i would enjoy. However, I don;t know how Goblin Quest would seem to people who are not familiar with fantasy RPG’s as I feel alot of the humour will be lost in translation. As the book does have a tendancy to poke fun or exadurate the parts of the game that generally annoy players, whilst giving you a little wink to ensure you are in on the joke.
For those of you that didnt know, Goblins are pretty low on the food chain in regards to ability, respect and all around presence in D&D. So to be considered a runt even by their standards is pretty damning indeed for poor Jig. So when he is captured and forced to lead a group of adventurers further into a dungeon, you can imagine he would have little to say in the matter.
It is here where we begin to see some of the little idiosyncrasies set in, those little quipps and points that cause a smirk on many of an RPG gamer. Such as one of the party is obsessed with mapping the terrain, ever Twenty-five paces, and the Elven theif is expected to perform specific feats, but due to her current level cap she isnt quite their yet (she is only a level 1 Rogue guys).
However despite these nods to the obvious tropes many of us know and love, these adventurers are not the “Hero” of the story in fact, it turns the genre on its head quite a bit by clearly making them out to be the villains of the peice. Where the Adventurers clearly see themselves as the good guys defeating ‘evil’ monsters to win treasure. The story is told from the perspective of poor old Jig, who quite rightly points out to them that they are basically killing people and taking their stuff.
Throughout the story, Hines makes a point to shine a light on the inherent racism of old-school adventuring. He clearly shows the ‘Adventurers’ while noble and just in their eyes, clearly treat poorly those they see as inequals, including Jig. This makes the reader pause for thought over all of the innocent Gnolls they may or may not have slain in a cavern one time near red larch, and think who is the real bad guy here? It’s far to easy in fantasy novels to lump a race of beings as bad, I mean just look at Tolkiens depiction of Orc’s for example,. Although, I admit the image of a sweet Orc housewife in a apron cooking an apple pie for her little orclette’s whilst waiting for ugthor to come back from the office doesnt quite compute in my brain, they cant all be bad.. can they?
Hines did a great job of sculpting the world, making the reader see from the perspective of a ‘lowly’ Goblin and somehow managed to make you care about Jig, and his current unfortunate situation. Since Jig is not an adventurer, he has very interesting and often amusing insights about the rest of the party. Which makes the story richer and all the more enjoyable.
This is the first of a series about Jig, and I for one are intregued to see where the story goes next!
Until next time, read more books!