Department header
Bewildering Stories

Jim C. Hines, Goblin Quest

reviewed by Clyde Andrews

Goblin Quest
Author: Jim C. Hines
Publisher: DAW books
Paperback: $6.99 US
Length: 352 pages
ISBN: 0756404002
Jig the Goblin is the all powerful ruler of the universe — not! He’s actually just a plain ol’ goblin... Well, that’s not true either. He’s really the lowest of the low as far as goblins go. So low in fact, he’s outranked by everyone in the lair, and is the only one that still performs muck duty as an adult, to tell the truth.

And what’s more, Jig kind of likes it that way. No, not the duty itself, but the fact that it keeps him away from the other goblins. The “bully” goblins. The ones that go out and get themselves killed all the time by taking part in stupid things like wars and stuff. Jig kind of likes being alive, even if he’s living as the lowest of the low in the lair.

That is until something happens that changes all that for Jig. Something he has feared from the moment he was born: he has to grow up, take it on the chin, and be a real goblin. Doing goblin stuff... like all that dying the others seem to do so well.

“Goblin” basically means sword fodder, and unfortunately for Jig he’s “convinced” by the bully goblin of the moment, Porak, to accompany him and his team on patrol. (“Moment” meaning he’ll probably be killed soon and replaced.)

Now, going on patrol means keeping a watch out while the others get drunk, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Jig is away from his nice warm, goblin lair, the one where he can enjoy the culinary delight that is Golaka’s cooking, and remain a coward thank you very much.

Patrol duty: that’s how it all changes for Jig, and his life will never be the same again.

So with his trusty friend Smudge the fire spider (the one that ignites everything when scared — including Jig’s hair), Jig reluctantly goes on patrol duty for the first time.

Meanwhile, a band of adventurers on a quest for the Rod of Creation have stumbled into the caves and tunnels where the goblins live. First there’s the Dwarf Darnak, then the pompous Prince Darius, his brother the crazy wizard Ryslind, and the elf thief Riana.

And you guessed it. They all meet up.

To Jig they’re a strange lot these adventurers — well, not so strange, they easily kill all the goblin patrol and tie up Jig in the hope he can direct them through the maze of tunnels to reach their goal. There’s just one problem with the plan.

Jig is no ordinary goblin.

As mentioned, Jig has led a rather sheltered life. For starters, he doesn’t know the way past the first few tunnels of his lair. What’s more, beyond what he knows there are hobgoblins, carrion-worms (that get fat eating all those slain goblins) lizard fish, armies of undead, and a necromancer just to name a few... the list goes on. Did I mention the dragon? No? Well, there’s a ruddy great dragon as well. Poor Jig! Poor adventurers!

But Jig isn’t telling them that, no sir. Remember, he kind of likes being alive, or the opposite of dead to be exact. To tell them he doesn’t know how to get to the Rod of Creation would kind of land him... dead. Jig isn’t a happy goblin, and now wished he’d stayed in his lair where it’s nice and safe and warm. Damn patrol duty!

So that’s how all the fun and the calamity and the hilarity begins for Jig and his band of ‘merry’ men.

Jig “blindly” leads them through the tunnels, getting into one predicament after another. Can Jig find his way through the tunnels? Will Jig ever taste Golaka’s cooking again? In fact, will Jig, now leading this rather odd bunch of adventurers to the Rod of Creation, be considered one of them? After all, a goblin’s perspective on things is kind of handy in a way. The real question is: will the adventurers realise this in time?

As you can tell from what I have written, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a light-hearted, easy to read novel with more than a good dash of old fashioned ‘laugh out loud’ humour. The characters are fun, and what’s more, the adventures they all have together are hilarious. I would recommend it without hesitation.

Seeing the world through the eyes of Jig the goblin is both fascinating and original. Thanks, Jim Hines for a great read. If, when growing up you loved Dungeons and Dragons, then this book will surely strike a chord. Such a great adventure romp. Roll on the next novel, Goblin Hero.

Copyright © 2007 by Clyde Andrews

Home Page