“Love is the bridge that spans the world above and below, and keeps the wheel of life turning.”
I had several major issues with this book. The first was all the confusion I had. Many things didn’t make sense to me and I don’t think the world building was good. The Goblin King was a weird character, yet I really don’t know what a goblin is. There are many topics and concepts thrown at you when you start this book (and I don’t want to spoil all of them), and it starts to mess with your mind. Of course, the main fantastical item is the goblins, but I myself don’t really know what a goblin is. Nothing is explained properly in this book, and it definitely held me back from enjoying this book more.I really don’t know what to feel about this book. I don’t think I can really rate this book because all I have is a jumble of thoughts, so right now I will settle with a 3, but again I don’t think I have an exact rating for this.
Besides the goblin mess, all the other concepts weren’t explained either. The Underground is supposed to be some sort of home to goblins, but I’m still confused on how it is separated from “the world above”. I get that it is the home to goblins, but exactly what separates it from the real and mortal world? The author incorporates so many unfamiliar concepts that it starts to really confuse me, and it doesn’t allow me to fully understand what it going on.
Another huge issue I had was that the book was built entirely on a backstory that isn’t even fully explained. Basically, the Goblin King and Liesl used to play with each other until Liesl left him (?). There aren’t any flashbacks to when they were young; only their dialogue about their past is what we know. Besides that, the childhood they had together is something quite foreign and unknown to us. However, it becomes a major issue because the entire book is built off of this past. My problem is mainly that this book is completely based off of what happened to them when they were younger, and because it is hardly even explained (they do mention and talk about their past a lot), it really started to make this book more confusing.
I think the main culprit of all my confusion is the writing. I have to admit that the author’s writing is quite exquisite and metaphorical, but in a fantasy book, that just makes things confusing. Nothing is ever explicitly stated. Nothing is exactly straightforward. All of the things that happen we kind of have to assume. I always love when the author puts an effort to have good writing, but in the end, it is mainly the plot and the actual story that matter. And although I do love the writing, it eventually started to negatively impact the story. I had this problem in several other books too, mainly in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
Another issue I had with this books was the characters. Although they were extremely interesting to read about, I think that they were problematic. During many scenes of the book, I don’t understand them at all (I would give some examples but I don’t want to spoil the book). Some of the characters were excessively stereotypical in the book world. The main character, Liesl, was one of them. She was the “badass, but also hopeless romantic” person, also known as pretty much any female protagonist. I always look for some creativity within authors to craft characters, but I don’t think that it really happened with this book. The Goblin King was a pretty classic anti-hero too. The side characters were okay, but many times I for some reason always confused Josef as Liesl’s brother, which he isn’t. Liesl also always hints she sometimes likes Josef, but then she also does that with the Goblin King. Everything was just a confusing mess.
I do applaud the author for creating an interesting plot and something entertaining. I’ve been in a small reading slump and I simply haven’t found anything interesting. This book definitely got me back into a reading mood since it was just purely entertaining. I gave this book a pretty high rating because of that, and that I always consider entertainment and opinion to be the number one factor in rating books.
Overall, this book wasn’t bad but it was just really confusing. I will pick up the sequel, Shadowsong, because there are so many loose ends that need to be tied. I don’t exactly recommend this book, but I wouldn’t stop you from reading this either.