Every 200,000 years the earth shifts on its axis destroying most life on the planet, but there are always survivors and those survivors go on to start a new society with new religions and some life forms evolve into something else. In the caverns away from the unpredictable and dangerous humans are the goblins who live a simple spiritual life keeping in harmony with the earth.
We also have small communities of humans who have started a different way of life. One group lives life following a strict religion while another group isn’t as strict but still holds on to some superstitious beliefs. One thing they both have in common is a fear of what they don’t understand and when a human wanders into one of the caverns where the goblins dwell, a series of events begins that could lead to war between goblins and humans.
Dance Of The Goblins by Jaq D Hawkins is a fascinating novel which builds a fantasy world where a lot of the beliefs mirror our own. What I like most about this book was how even after society collapses new societies will begin with the same prejudice and fear of what they don’t understand as we have. Three different societies are presented in this book, and they all look at the other groups as being beneath them. The interesting part is hearing what each group thinks of the other and then seeing how that group really is. Even the goblins who are presented as being in tune with the earth have prejudices against the humans that are incorrect and we see in the book how each society has their flaws. Dance Of The Goblins is like a sociology text-book disguised as a fantasy novel.
My favorite character in this book was a female goblin named Talla. Talla uses magic to disguise herself as a beautiful human woman in distress to distract some humans who are getting to close to the goblin’s layer. Thinking she is in danger the humans take Talla to their community and we hear Talla’s thoughts on human society as well as what the humans think of her. In one moment that I found hilarious, one of the humans takes Talla into a bedroom wanting to force himself on her. At this point Talla is curious what sex with a human would be like and is unafraid. Her reaction scares the human who runs out of the room thinking she is a succubus. I loved how when the human doesn’t get the fearful reaction that he wants from the woman, he labels her as evil rather than seeing the act that he was about to perform as evil.
My only problem with Dance Of The Goblins was that it spent so much time describing the world in which the story takes place that the story itself seems unimportant. I found myself being bored with the story but I loved how the goblin and human societies were described. This book may be light on action but it makes up for it in its attention to detail on how each society works. Jaq D. Hawkins has created a realistic fantasy world and an excellent dark fantasy novel. This is the first book in a trilogy and it will be interesting to see how the goblin’s world changes in future installments.