Jim C. Hines’ Goblin War wraps up the trilogy he started in Goblin Quest and Goblin Hero , and does it very well. Hines takes what had been just a cliche-inversion series and manages to infuse it with enough world-building and characterization depth to sustain an honest-to-god non-parodic straight fantasy that just happens to feature a runty goblin as the protagonist.

In this third book, Jig (the aforementioned runty goblin, who’s been in a couple of adventures in the previous books) is forced to leave the D&D-cliche mountain where the goblin lair exists, and explore the world outside. This broadening of geographical scope matches up nicely with a broadening of the story’s scope, to encompass nations and armies instead of just parties of adventurers and packs of monsters. The result is a larger, more expansive story set in a more uniquely realized and interesting world that goes beyond a familiar monster-laden mountain.

It’s not brilliant, but it is competent light fantasy, and the upward trajectory of the series makes me optimistic for whatever Hines writes next.


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