Book Review: "Dance of the Goblins" by Jaq D. Hawkins

A Remarkable Fantasy Adventure From a Unique Perspective

After reading Jaq D. Hawkins’s fine steampunk adventure “Wake of the Dragon,” I was excited to check out more of a fantasy offering. “Dance of the Goblins” doesn’t disappoint. There are elements of urban fantasy here as it takes place more or less within a modern setting, but the main characters are goblins and a good deal of the action happens within the goblin realm. I can’t recollect having read a book that approaches the life of mythological/fantasy creatures in quite this way. The closest I can think of is “Sojurn” by R.A. Salvatore, but “Dance of the Goblins” is a far more thoughtful and mature treatment of the concept.

I’d often thought of goblins as diminutive, non-thinking creatures, but Hawkins’s goblins are tall, powerful and intellectual. They are long-lived, and exist in secret tunnels beneath the awareness of the human race. The “dance” of the title refers to a hypnotic state they enter when they perform their magic. There is a lot of talk I appreciated about hearing “the rhythms of the Earth,” and werewolves also make an appearance.

I’ve always thought that fantasy novels that attempt to tie in with existing fantasy legends are the most effective. In “Dance of the Goblins” some goblin females are able to project images so that human males perceive them as voluptuous, idealized ladies. There is also talk about goblins swapping out goblin babies for human children in the hopes of introducing new bloodlines into the isolated goblin species. Taking advantage of these kinds of legends is a terrific way to lend substance to the overall story.

Action is subdued in this thoughtful novel, and the writing, character development, and world-building are all first rate. This book stands out among recent fantasy releases in that it gives substance to a fantasy species that is almost universally used as an anonymous horde of redundant enemies. “Dance of the Goblins” is a must read for any fan of the fantasy genre. We need more books like this.

Note: There are some very unfair negative reviews of this book on Amazon.  One reviewer even blatantly states that s/he did not even read the book, but nonetheless gives it a one star review.  This leads me to believe that there is some group with an unfair prejudice against this writer actively seeking to sabotage her Amazon sales.  This is unjust, and it makes me very angry.  I think Jaq D. Hawkins is a very talented writer and I look forward to her work.  Maybe I'll write Jaq directly and get to the bottom of this.  Stay tuned.

Reviewer Bio:
Walter Rhein is the author of "The Reader of Acheron," "Beyond Birkie Fever," and "The Bone Sword."  He is also the editor of "Nine Heroes."

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