[A quick note: I initially picked up White Stag because it was a Wattpad Book. Given that I’m a Wattpad author, I was curious. It’s great to see books from Wattpad getting published, and I really wanted to support the author in that way.]
“ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴛʀᴏɴɢᴇꜱᴛ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴡᴇ ᴅᴏ ᴀʟʟ ᴅᴀʏ ɪꜱ ᴡᴀᴋᴇ ᴜᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ɢᴇᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏꜰ ʙᴇᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴏɴᴛɪɴᴜᴇ ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ꜰɪɢᴜʀɪɴɢ ᴏᴜᴛ ɴᴇᴡ ᴡᴀʏꜱ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʜɪɴɢꜱ ᴡᴇ ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴅɪᴅ.”—Kara Barbieri
Rich with Norse mythology, this sequel explores some of the unanswered questions from White Stag. Against all odds, Janneke and Soren have become the Stag and Erlking. While they may have won the hunt, the war for the fate of the world has just begun. “What happens when the serpent stops eating its tail?” Lyndian’s famous question is the new focus. And Lydian might be the key they need, even though they sent his soul to Hel. That would mean navigating the other worlds to find him and destroy the harbinger of Ragnarok. Everything comes at a cost.
Healing, adventure, and unforgettable friendships are the central focus of this installment. But my favorite aspect was the depth of Norse Mythology portrayed throughout. Goblin King dives deep. Yggdrasil, the tree of life, is the main focus as readers are taken on a journey through the realms of the gods. This installment is centered more around adventure and saving the world, instead of romance. However, Janneke and Soren’s relationship is tested. It also didn’t feel as poetic as the first book, and moved a bit slower in the beginning. For example, in the first book, I highlighted line after line of great text. This one, I didn’t find myself highlighting much.
In terms of internal conflict, Janneke is forced to work with Lyndian, the goblin who ruined her life. This is a struggle through which we see her grow. No one should ever have to face someone like Lydian, but Janneke puts aside her pain. She does what needs to be done to save the world. This shows a level of mature growth. Soren, too, faces his own struggles. I liked that we saw him forced into a more difficult position this time around. His character was truly tested.
And of course, I have to mention Rose and Seppo. I loved those two. They were sort of the comic relief, because Seppo’s sense of humor and sarcasm. But they added a great dynamic to the story. Aside from Janneke and Soren, they were my other two favorite characters.
While I read White Stag in two sittings, this one took about a week. I really didn’t enjoy it as much as the first. Maybe that’s the romantic in me. When there’s a heavy romance storyline, I find myself devouring. This one was much slower. But it also didn’t have as much suspense. IMO, the one thing it really had going for it was the rich portrayal of the Norse mythology.
If you’re a Norse mythology lover, this one is for you! Since I already own the hardcover of White Stag, I’m going to go ahead and purchase the hardcover of Goblin King, even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. The story does leave off in a way that suggested a definite third book. Will I read it? Probably, since I’m invested. MY RATING:3/5⭐️
A huge thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eARC.