The Goblin Wood

The Goblin Wood - Hilari Bell In what turned out to be an addicting fantasy novel, Hilari Bell shows love and compassion for goblins, a race often seen in a negative light in fantasy novels.

Betrayed by her own human race, Makenna, a young hedgewitch, flees her village after her mother's execution and finds herself in the company of goblins. With a decree demanding all independent magic wielders are in league with dark forces, a crime demanding execution, she finds refuge among these magical creatures and becomes their leader in the fight to keep humans from settling in their land. Flash forward five years and we're introduced to Tobin, a dishonored knight offered a chance to regain his post, if he can help rid the Northern woods of it's goblin inhabitants to make way for human migration. Captured by Makenna and her goblin army, Tobin is forced to see them as the peaceful, victimized beings they are, dividing his loyalties. Now, it's all-out war, and Tobin has to pick a side. To side with the goblins would be the "right" thing to do, but his friends, family, and a comfortable life as a lord await him should he help the humans exterminate the goblins.

I thoroughly loved this novel! The characters are all very liable and complex, and the society the author created for the goblins is just as magical as the creatures themselves. She gives them a myriad of abilities, creating sub-cultures to complicate a normally cut-and-dried fantasy species.

I found the ending aggravating, though appropriate to allow for a sequel. Told from both Makenna and Tobin in alternating chapters, the reader can appreciate the internal conflicts for both main characters, and sympathize with their struggles. I gave this book a full five of five stars and plan to read the sequel!