by Jim C. Hines
Cover Artist: Mel Grant
Review by Paul Haggerty
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756404932
Date: 04 March 2008 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Jig is a goblin, one of the nameless pieces of cannon fodder used by all the other races (including his own), to fight endless wars. What's worse, he's not even big enough to be a warrior, being bullied by nearly every other member of his tribe. Too bad for him he's become the greatest goblin hero of all time. And it's too bad for him that heroes are even in greater demand then expendable foot soldiers. Trouble is brewing outside the mountain, and Jig Dragonslayer is marching to war, kicking and screaming if necessary.
Jig's survived more than his fair share in his short life: adventurers, necromancers, dragons, ogres, pixies, and his fellow goblins. Mostly he's survived by not acting like a goblin. Instead of charging into battle, Jig thinks about things first. Some call it cowardice, but the fact remains that he's still around and his enemies are all dead. Well, almost all, and that tiny difference makes all the difference in the world.
With as small contingent of his fellow's Jig is taken off to fight other people's battles. It should be easy, the humans think. After all, they're only goblins. And while normally they might be right, events in the vicinity of Jig never seem to go the way anyone expects. Although all he really wants to do is stay out of the way, Jig is cursed with the most horrible of afflictions ... a sense of right and wrong. And if he has to take his point to the top of the chain of command, that's exactly what he's going to do. After all, they'll never see it coming. All he has to do is escape the army that wants to kill him, and the other army that wants to kill him.
Goblin War is also the story of Jig's God, Tymalous Shadowstar. Back in Goblin Quest Tymalous was so desperate for followers, that even a goblin runt wasn't something he was willing to pass over. But why was the Shadowstar in such dire straits? Therein lies a tale that parallels Jig's. Vastly reduced from his former glory, Shadowstar exists in the cracks, trying not to attract the attention of those after his divine head. But he can no more abandon the people under his care than Jig can, and it's going to cause him no end of trouble.
This entire series is a strange literary chimera. It's straight forward fantasy, satirical fantasy, comedy, drama, and all at the same time. Jig's no hero, but acts like one anyway. The supporting cast crashes around the underbrush, doing what ever they think it will take to accomplish Jig's goals, secure in the belief that Jig can do no wrong. Jig, in turn, spends most of his time, trying to keep the supporting cast from getting themselves killed doing stupid things, thus reinforcing their beliefs. The mixture of heroism and buffoonery combine to put the Goblin series into a fantasy class of its own.