White Stag

Kara Barbieri. Wednesday, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-14958-9
In this brutal fantasy (originally self-published), a young woman who’s spent the past century serving as thrall to the goblins who slaughtered her village must now fight for her life during a contest to determine the next Goblin King. Janneke has lasted this long by learning to rise to every challenge, and her master, Soren, chooses her to help defeat his loathsome uncle Lydian—her original master, who raped and mutilated her. The first goblin to hunt down the fabled white stag will rule the rest, and Soren, to whom Janneke is increasingly attracted, is one of the strongest contenders. Janneke realizes that her time in the goblins’ land of Permafrost has changed her, and as the hunt progresses, she must choose between her fading humanity and the goblin spirit she has developed. Barbieri’s tale, which blends Norse folklore and Goethe’s Erlking, features an emotionally raw tone and dwells on survivor Janneke’s pain and trauma. Though the intense tale weaves together romance, action, and magic in sometimes compelling ways, the worldbuilding is atmospheric without detail, the plot sprawls, and elaborate portrayals of violence and assault contribute to a problematic, possibly distressing novel. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 01/08/2019
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-250-24720-9
Paperback - 978-1-250-22619-8
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