The Goblins of Bellwater

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Member Reviews

Overall I enjoyed it, and it was a fun reimagining of goblin fruit and fae havoc.  It brings something to the genre and could be YA or adult, depending on your mood
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I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read this but every time I reread the synopsis I was just... underwhelmed. Let the record reflect that I am wishing I had just dove in because from the very beginning I was sucked into this amazing read. Seriously, the story was amazing, the characters were well flushed out and connectable and I loved the urban fantasy feel of the whole thing.
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I only made it 35% of the way through before I realized it was a rehashing of Holly Black's Darkest Part of the Forest. Having read that, I felt it was entirely too similar for me to be a good judge of this book. I would love to come back to it when that one isn't as fresh on my mind.
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As a whole this book was enjoyable to read. This whimsical and dark story is about four individuals getting tangled up with the local fae in a town called Bellwater. In this story you will discover lives that have been doomed to a curse and greedy goblins you will soon hate. I give this book 4/5 stars. The attractive magic of this story lets you escape from reality. I recommend this book for new adult fiction readers.
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Something different, which is a nice change. It's not vampires, or werewolves, or ghosts, or aliens, or witches, it's goblins at the center of this novel. A welcome change of pace. Finally something new to add to the genre. Although I had hoped it would be a little darker, it still filled the hole in my fantasy reading.
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Ever since I was a little girl, I have been positively obsessed with all things goblin related. Well, mostly fairytale related, but definitely with a focus on goblins, too. I've always been so intrigued with how mischievous they are. How they're not what they seem at all. How they'll trick you and seduce you. The mythical creatures are just so complex! From the stories I've read about goblins in the past, I can tell you that The Goblins of Bellwater succeeds at its descriptions of goblins, at least in my eyes. Ringle does them justice. It feels very classic but with some unique twists on it. I loved how weird and quirky this book is. If you're a fan of the bizarre and fantastical, then you'll probably enjoy this one, too. 

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read. It is fast paced, relatively short, and I'm super happy I gave it a read. It's incredibly atmospheric and dark. I'm excited to see what Molly Ringle does next.
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I found this book odd. I thought the plot and storyline - the way it played out - was fantastic, but I found the characters a bit .... superficial. Not in a materialistic way, but more so that with some editing or review they might have been able to develop a bit more 'personality' and therefore become more realistic as characters. In any case, the worldbuilding was considerably good - although I did find the goblins vs natural fae a tough sell. Perhaps if they were less evil v good it could be more complex, but then again, as a YA novel you have to let some stuff slide because less complexity is necessary. Great depiction of Skye with the curse, and great sisterhood between her and Livy.
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Wow! This is a rare, and well-deserved 5-star rating for me. This was a book that I immersed myself in, and poured over the enchanting details until I finished a day later. The plot lingered in my mind during times where I had to stop reading, and it reminded me of home, with the vivid imagery painting a very real picture of the PNW. I would describe the story as magical. Yes, it literally is about devious goblins commandeering the forest and lording a 1000-year curse over a family's bloodline, but it is so easy to imagine yourself in the story with a tale like this. This story moves quickly, and is great for fans of fantasy and lore, with romance that isn't maudlin/sappy. It's tragic, thrilling and satisfying.
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The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle is a very unique work, as it deals in lore and has a lot to offer. Surely the idea is an evergreen for a fiction writer, with obvious attention to folklore. Then why did it suck so badly? A fast-paced writing, jumping from one scene to another, underdeveloped characters these are the sum of sins committed throughout this work. I can easily say that if the author had divided a book into three parts, and wrote each into about three to four hundred pages, it would have already made a big difference.  This book simply had too much crammed into a single piece of 288 page of paperback copy. I simply did not connect with a single character, could not feel their pain, sorrow, passion, nor urgency. This is not to say that the work is hopeless, but I would consider writing a rewrite in a more detailed and lengthier version.
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Was not a big fan of the first half, second hal;f was definitely better!
Full review is on my blog! (http://evelynreads.com/review-the-goblins-of-bellwater/)
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Reason I chose the book:

Goblins, need I say more? I love fantasy and the darker the better. I started this book and it looked really good. Until it didn’t.

Reason why I’m not finishing it:

The way the depression was written is the main reason why I’m not finishing the book. Livy, Skye’s sister keeps on mentioning how Skye was such a happy person, like happy people can’t become depressed? Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and happy people can just as easily have depression as sad people – even if they ‘don’t show it’ in the way that 'sad' people do.

The title is Goblins, right? Except the goblins don’t really feature much in the story (I stopped reading around the 50% mark, so I don’t know if they appear more heavily in the second half of the book). But I would expect there to be a lot more scenes involving the goblins rather than the people. It’s called Goblins of Bellwater not People of Bellwater.

Any thoughts I had while reading the book:

The goblins lure people in by planting the scent of coffee and baked goods. And let me just tell you that that will MOST DEFINITELY get me there. Like I would dive head in if I smell coffee and scones. Especially if the scones have whipped cream on it.
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"Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own."

Ever since Labyrinth, say goblin and I'm in.
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Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I think if I had fit into the target audience then maybe my star rating would have been a little higher. I truly love the concept behind the story, where it originated from, and how weird and quirky it was. The writing was beautiful and the setting was a dreamy type of atmospheric that was both fantasy fueled and modern meshed into one.
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This is a satisfying magical realism romp filled with action, lore, and romance. Recommended to anyone who loves YA magical realism.
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Definitely YA approved. I liked it. The story was well written and Kit really seemed to be created well. I will say that in YA there seems to be a big difference in the material and how it is covered, with some being more mature and some being much less mature. This one falls distinctly in the middle.
Good read for upper middle school, lower high school students..
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Looking for a new twist on the fey? Then read this tale of faerie exploring the darker sides of what happens when you make a bargain with a faerie.

I loved this book and couldn't put it down from the characters to the prose, it was amazing.
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Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An engaging standalone with folktale elements and an interesting take on the fae, enjoyable despite some stumbles with pacing and character.

Review: Okay so two confessions right off the bat: 1) this was one of the ARCs that I was supposed to finish and review before I had my... let's say "fit of melancholy" last year and decided to stop book blogging entirely... I've finally read and am reviewing the book... better late than never, I guess? Please bear with me as I do this review, I may be out of practice. And 2) I was initially drawn to this book because of it's cover. I'm shallow like that. I liked the premise well enough but the primary reason I went "ah yes must pick up" was because the cover is just really, really pretty and I like looking at it.

I found it interesting how this book approached the fae, as it's much more of a good/bad dichotomy than you often see in stories about the fae for YA or adult audiences. This book, I found, doesn't necessarily deviate from the framework but presents it in a very different way. There are a lot of stories where the fae exist in, at least to some degree of another, in courts with a sort of ruling body and nasty, back-stab-y court politics (which, don't get me wrong, I love), but here we don't so much get a sense of a sophisticated power structure. The goblins can lie, outright and to your face, and whether they actually have to keep their promises is... dubious. The goblins are likened to an invasive plant, creatures not native to the ecosystem of Bellwater, brought over to North America when they followed the humans they'd struck a bargain with, while "the locals" are a part of the system that grew from it, and that have been there essentially forever.  There are rival factions, which the main characters brush up against, but neither the characters nor the readers are fully involved in any real character-based dynamics- they know there's a conflict, but the particulars are left vague, and the fae are generally elemental, with undefined parameters to their magic, and for the most part unbound to any particular physical form. I think essentially it's a play on the fae much closer to interpreting them as nature spirits of a kind than I generally see in modern interpretations.

While I didn't necessarily dislike the characters I did feel like there wasn't quite enough time to get to know them throughout... or just that I didn't wind up connecting to them enough? While Livy and Kit both had enough time to at least begin to feel like people, Skye and Grady really didn't, as they sort of... lost any personality they might have had when the curse kicked in... that or they just weren't all that faceted to begin with? Or it is possible that I personally just didn't jive with either of their characters for reasons I can't explain. This, combined with the whole curse-taking-away-their-ability-to-actually-make-independent-choices thing, just made both of their points of view, especially their scenes together, really uncomfortable for me to read. (Some of which was probably intentional but there rest was probably due to personal preference... I tend to find all "mating-bond" stuff kind of creepy in general so perhaps this is not a surprise. At least Livy and Kit were uncomfortable right along with me, I guess?)

Pacing-wise, I felt that the build-up took a lot longer than the actual plot, but that may have been in part because I was thinking of Livy's quest as "the plot" when it's possible that the build-up was actually... meant to be the interesting part? But the thing about me is that I am always there for a good faerie quest with weird nonsensical instructions and even more weird nonsensical rules, and somehow always getting snagged into a promise or a trade, and being weirdly proprietary about your name because that's just how things are. I REALLY LIKE THAT STUFF. So the parts where Livy gave of heroine-in-a-folktale vibes were my favourites. I did really enjoy the visuals of Livy's quest too, I would love to see it illustrated- it was where the writing really shone, too, both tightly paced and very visual, edging toward poetic in some moments. I wound up far more interested in the second half of the book,with a little blip toward the ending just because the conclusion wasn't quite as tricksie as I was hoping for (mostly, I think, because at least one subset of the fae were a good bit more benevolent than I'd gone in expecting- it was both a strength, because it was different, and a weakness, because I apparently like when the fae are a little bit terrible at the best of times, with their logic runs rather counter to human logic... there were hints in this book but I would have loved to see more).

Overall, I had a good time reading this one, and it was nice to read a stand-alone fantasy novel! The interpretation of the fae was a little different than what I was used to and interesting to explore, especially with the more nature-spirit-y fae. While this novel didn't give me everything I was hoping for, and did give me a few things that I was kind of... not hoping for... I still enjoyed reading it and really liked some aspects of the world and enjoyed the folktale-like elements that it delivered.
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This was a fascinating read. The setting was very picturesque and the romance sweet abd troubling (of course). I found myself wanting to shake Skye out of her curse and taste her lover's cooking. I debated going for a kayak myself or trying my hand at carving driftwood. This author does an amazing job of really making her characters whole in spite of a curse that makes them rather flat. Love this book so much and can't wait to see more.
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I loved the concept of this book: based on the poem Goblin Market, the book brought the sinister and sensual aspects of the poem to life in modern day Washington. I loved the relationships between the four central characters, and the eventual adventure to find the cure for goblin enchantment was both well paced and satisfying. The goblins themselves were sufficiently despicable in contrast to the more kindly "local" faeries. The only thing I felt could have been embellished was the romantic relationships: they felt a little flat and underdeveloped, especially in the light of the details of enchantments and goblins. In the end, it was a satisfying fantasy.
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I'm sorry that this is so late--I struggled with what to say about this book for so long, that eventually it fell off the list. 
I so much wanted to love this book, and so much didn't. Every time there was another element of magic, of mystery, of surprise, or even delight, it was immediately squelched and smothered with darkness, dispair,, or disappointment. There was so much potential, and so much good material to work with, but I must not be the right audience--I found the whole thing sad, upsetting, dark, and depressing. 
I haven't, and won't, post any public reviews.
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