cover image The Goblin Mirror

The Goblin Mirror

C. J. Cherryh. Del Rey Books, $19 (331pp) ISBN 978-0-345-37278-9

Cherryh's third book in a scant three months (after Chanur's Legacy and Hellburner) does not meet her usual high standards. When Karoly, a wizard of Maggiar, announces plans to consult with his wizard-sister about recent ominous events, the lord Stani sends along his eldest two sons, Bogdan and Tamas, and other soldiers for protection. Much to his chagrin, the third son Yuri is left behind-but he sneaks off to follow the troupe. Along the way Karoly and his party are attacked and separated. Tamas is rescued by Ela, a sorceress's apprentice who has a shard of the Goblin Mirror, the source of the goblin queen's power. Ela eventually defeats the queen's invaders, with the help of Tamas and a group of rebels against the queen and, eventually, Yuri, Karoly, and the others of their party. While occupied with a favored Cherryh theme, the complexity of nonhuman races--goblins and trolls are more fully dimensioned here than is usual in fantasy--the novel lacks such Cherryh staples as a fully imagined setting, unexpected plot twists and engrossing characters. (Oct.)