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REVIEW: 'The Goblin Corps' by Ari Marmell


Morthûl, the dreaded Charnel King, has failed.

Centuries of plotting from the heart of the Iron Keep, deep within the dark lands of Kirol Syrreth—all for naught. Foiled at the last by the bumbling efforts of a laughable band of so-called heroes, brainless and over-muscled cretins without sense enough to recognize a hopeless cause when they take it on.

Machinations developed over generations, schemes intended to deliver the world into the Dark Lord's hands, now devastated beyond salvation. But the so-called forces of Light have paid for their meddling with the life of Princess Amalia, only child of the royal family of Shauntille.

Now, as winter solidifies its icy grip on the passes of the Brimstone Mountains, disturbing news has reached the court of Morthûl. King Dororam, enraged by the murder of his only child—and accompanied by that same group of delusional upstart "heroes"—is assembling all the Allied Kingdoms, fielding an army unlike any seen before. The armies of Kirol Syrreth muster to meet the attack that is sure to come as soon as the snows have melted from the mountain paths, but their numbers are sorely depleted. Still, after uncounted centuries of survival, the Dark Lord isn't about to go down without a fight, particularly in battle against a mortal! No, the Charnel King still has a few tricks up his putrid and tattered sleeves, and the only thing that can defeat him now may just be the inhuman soldiers on whom he's pinned his last hopes.

Welcome to the Goblin Corps. May the best man lose...

Review:

Something about this book appealed to me when I first saw the cover and title months ago and I wasn't dissapointed by what I finally got either.  That "something" I thought when first seeing it was a book that looked fun and different and that is exactly what Ari Marmell delivers with The Goblin Corps.

The interesting, ragtag bunch of goblinoid monsters that make up the group include the orc Cræosh (the leader), the kobold thief Gork,  gremlin Gimmol, the doppelganger Omb Feizell, bugbear Jhurpess, the troll Katim, the ogre Belrotha and the gargoyle Shreckt.  Make no mistake, this motley crew still essentially comes up on the descriptive side of "bad guys" even if Marmell does a good job of turning them into the guys you root for.

It follows this demon squad as they are dispatched by their dark lord on a series of quests for a war with the "forces of light" and so-called heroes.  The author does a good job in giving each character their own voice and style even if it does fall a little short in fleshing everyone out completely.  Humor also does a lot to add to the storytelling, though sometimes certain jokes get a little old. The plot builds to give the reader a bit more than just evil adventurers on quests as more layers of politics around the war is added on.  As the story concludes it doesn't feel as climactic as it could have been due to part of the story being told to the reader and not allowed to be experienced, but it didn't impact the book enough to lose me as a fan. 


Bottom Line:

All in all it was what I expected: a fun and different fantasy novel.  I think fans of Abercrombie would enjoy the dark and gritty, rated-R take on fantasy; but Marmel goes in his own direction in layering the humor into the story.  It's worth picking up and is available now in oversized paperback from Pyr Publishing.


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