ARC Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

33973968I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Publication: October 1st, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. 

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

Review: I was really intrigued by this story, as I’m a huge fan of magical realism and fae stories. I also had never heard of the poem it was based off of, and when I looked it up, I was only more interested in learning what this book had to offer. I will say upfront that I am not a fan of NA books and actively try to avoid them. I find that the relationships can be shallow and focused primarily on meaningless sex, and that’s just not what I look for in a book. However, I tried to be as objective as possible while reading this, and I ultimately walk away from it finding it a very solid, unique read which I fear will become forgettable.

Ringle established a palpable atmosphere rife with stunning imagery. I could very easily paint the picture of the tiny town, the nasty goblins, and the sullen characters. I’m a huge fan of books set in the Pacific Northwest, which is what originally drew me in. And I was not disappointed settings wise! The book unfortunately became very dialogue heavy during the middle of the story. When it broke away from that in the end, and the chase was on to save the characters from the goblins, the story came to life again. I just wish it had been able to keep the trajectory it established in the beginning throughout the story.

In terms of characters and relationships, this book fell into the trap that always makes me wary of NA books. The relationships established were very shallow, although Kit and Livy’s relationship especially grew on me. However, I didn’t like Skye and Grady’s. It made sense that they had this very feral lust for each other as a result of a spell, but post-enchantment, it felt like things moved way too fast and they barely knew a thing about each other. They thought great sex would translate into a great relationship, and it’s totally unrealistic that that was the outcome. No one in their position would walk away from such a trauma and immediately want to still be together. Healing takes time, and in this case, I expected a fair amount of isolation.

Once again, the tone and the imagery in this novel was incredible. I always wish that novels were more atmospheric, and this definitely met my expectations. It was a very fast paced read, and shorter than I expected, but not necessarily anticipatory. Which I find a good thing! The speed was amped up at the end just when it needed to be. I do wish there had been more development for the local fae, and fae history in general. Not just in relation to Kit and his ancestors, but to how these goblins came to be at all.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was unique in plot and conception, and I think New Adult readers will be all over this come publication. It may not have been my perfect cup of tea, but I certainly enjoyed the story I was given.

 

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