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Jaq D Hawkins is a traditionally published writer turned indie with 9 books in publication on nature spirits and chaos magic published by Capall Bann Publishing as well as two Fantasy novels in print and E-book, Dance of the Goblins and Demoniac Dance, soon to be followed by the third book in the series, Power of the Dance.
Also recently released is her first Steampunk book, The Wake of the Dragon, an airship pirate adventure among the opium trade in an alternative history. Information on all titles can be found through her website at http://www.jaqdhawkins.co.uk
on Oct. 17, 2012 :
Dance of the Goblins is a delightful, charming story set in a world which is simultaneously familiar and alien. It is an exploration of the society of the goblins, who live beneath the surface of the world in harmony, while humans live above. The core of the story is about Anton, a human; Haghuf, a goblin elder; and Talla, a young goblin woman who ends up trapped in the world above when the humans unwittingly discover an entrance to the goblins’ realm.
This story is not adventure fantasy. It reads more like a fairy tale, a light-hearted and optimistic fantasy tale showing us what life would be like if we lived alongside a race of creatures like the goblins. The world-building is wonderful, the prose fulfills its purpose with style and grace, and though the actual plot is a little slower than I usually like, the fairy-tale feeling makes that seem unimportant.
Overall, it was a very pleasant and satisfying read, with a few genuine surprises of world-building and character. Definitely recommended if you love fairy-tale fantasy.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 19, 2012 :
What a delightful, refreshing change from the usual fantasies about vampires, werewolves and fairies! Ms. Hawkins has written a very enjoyable story about goblins and the humans who are left to cope with life after the cataclysmic Turning. The descriptions of the Dance itself were very vivid and compelling.
Count Anton, one of the humans, and Haghuf, one of the goblins, were well-developed and likeable characters, who overcame their differences and historical prejudices to become trusted, loyal friends. The fact that Count Anton was also a shapeshifter who could assume the persona of a black wolf endeared him to me even further. :)
If I had one criticism, however, it would be the long episodes of storytelling and exposition that made up much of the book. It was interesting to learn about the history of the goblins and the society that had developed after the Turning, but these prolonged tales had a tendency to slow the pace quite a bit. I prefer a lot of action and magic in my fantasies.
All in all, I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to others who are fans of this genre.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 20, 2012 :
The goblin race has been known to only a few and survived in secrecy. An accident of timing soon changes the world forever, brining the goblins and the humans on the brink of war. Of course that doesn't change the fact that Haghuf and Talla will try at everything to save their race's identity. With the help of their fellow human magician, Count Anton, they are brought to the surface of the Earth and are thrown into numerous conflicts they cannot keep at bay!
Oh this wonderful fantasy novel, I do have many mixed opinions and feelings towards it. Of course I have to hand it to the author. The world that she has created was breathtaking. It was clearly thought of for a long time and the history behind it was splendid. It's really nice to get a novel, especially a fantasy novel, which will tell you it's race's history throughout your reading. The goblins themselves were very amusing and I'm really sad we didn't see much of them. By that I mean different goblin characters. I did enjoy their abilities that help them survive, or however you want to explain it.
Mrs. Hawkins did a wonderful job with her characters. Well let's put Tala to the side for now, Haghuf and Anton's relationship was very relatable. They made me think of best friends actually. Both of them knew each other quite well and they always seem to have a hint of inside jokes or some kind of teasing at their disposal. Talla for some reason didn't stand out too me as much as the other 2 characters. For one, she made me think of a helpless princess most of the time, and she didn't possess the wisdom or knowledge that Haghuf and Anton had. The fantasy magic wasn't too much explained and it wasn't fairy-tale like, also the loose ends urged me on to read the next book. My biggest pride in this novel is how they related the "human world" so well. They described the humans as ignorant creatures who seek comfort in materialism because they have forgotten they were creatures of magic. I'll post the full quote at the end of the review but I found it quite exact to a degree.
As for my disappointments, this novel seemed like a big documentary. Yes I did enjoy the history of the goblins, but it just became overly complicated for myself. The action was never present in my mind. The first few hundred pages lacked the engaging paragraphs that a good fantasy novel needs. I had a hard time passing that great brick wall of boredom and of course once the so called "action" arrived, I just couldn't feel it. (I'll be very contradictory in this review, so I apolagize for that.) As far as the romance goes, I thought that the author tried to put it in there but might have failed miserably. The goblins society has a mindset of surviving, and as for "couples" it's mostly only business!
My favorite quote: ‘Because I never want to forget that I am alive,’ answered Haghuf. ‘That is what makes us different from them. They sink into the decline of routine for the sake of a safe and comfortable life, yet it is one without adventure, without that spark which makes us what we are. They seek comfort in materialism because they have forgotten what they were meant to be, creatures of magic, who perpetuate the chaos as we do. Now they are nothing. Parasites! They destroy all on the earth without thought for any species but their own because they have sunk into the depression that should have led to their extinction centuries ago, and they refuse to die because they have too much intelligence to allow it to happen. They invent ways of continuance, and entertainments to give it some meaning, yet waste their potential in everlasting toil and the pursuit of an illusory dream of leisure which they deny themselves for the very sake of working towards its possibility. They haven’t worked it out yet, but they have condemned themselves, all of their species, to the perpetual Hell of their own.'
(reviewed within a month of purchase)