After four long years in trapped in the world of Mylena, seventeen-year-old Greta has become an expert at hiding her humanity. She has to if she wants to survive. Human’s aren’t welcome on Mylena where goblins, sprites, ghouls and other creatures all blame humans for ruining leaving their world in perpetual winter.
Work as a bounty hunter in Mylena is not easy. Especially for a human pretending to be something she’s not. But it gives Greta access to the caves that she knows transported her to Mylena when she tried to save her brother from a fire all those years ago.
Keeping a low profile in Mylena is simple until Greta catches the attention of a strange young man who appears in her dreams. It becomes impossible when that same young man turns out to be Isaac, the new goblin king.
When Greta’s secret threatens to come out, it becomes obvious that Greta is part of someone’s plan to open a new portal out of Mylena. The only problems are Greta doesn’t know where that someone is and she doesn’t know who she can trust in Greta and the Goblin King (2012) by Chloe Jacobs.
Greta and the Goblin King is Jacobs’ first novel and the start of her Mylena Chronicles trilogy.
This book is an incredibly loose retelling of the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” in that Greta sort of sounds like Gretel, there is a fire, and Greta has a brother. In some sense this could be an alternate version of the fairy tale or even a continuation but again these connections are loose enough that it’s easier to just call Greta and the Goblin King a unique fantasy.
Greta is a tough-talking heroine who relies on herself and no one else. She does not tolerate fools, posers, or anyone who might underestimate her. Consequently she is also brusque and rash throughout the novel as her pride often prevents Greta from asking for the help she obviously (desperately) needs.
Isaac, by contrast, is remarkably level-headed despite being a goblin who could revert to his baser form (sort of like a werewolf) at the next eclipse. He’s an interesting foil for Greta and also, much to her dismay, a strong ally. There’s also just something entertaining about a goblin being the male lead in a paranormal romance. While Greta and Isaac are fun characters separately, their romance is problematic with a lot of it hinging on Isaac “claiming” Greta as “his” to keep her safe.
The world building here is messy. Some aspects of Mylena–such as why most creatures are essentially humanoid–are neatly explained while others–including how Greta is in Mylena at all and why a goblin on another world would be named Isaac–are tidily ignored.
Greta and the Goblin King is an interesting if not perfect novel. Recommended for readers looking for a fun new retelling/romance after reading the obvious suspects. Ideal for readers who are enjoy lots of action with minimal background.
Possible Pairings: Beastly by Alex Flinn, School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins, The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Dust City by Robert Paul Weston, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White