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Kiss of the Goblin Prince    by Shona Husk Amazon.com order for
Kiss of the Goblin Prince
by Shona Husk
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Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2012 (2012)
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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In Kiss of the Goblin Prince, Husk returns with the second instalment of her appealing Shadowlands series, this time with Dai's story.

He and his brother Roan (brothers who two millenia before were Celtic princes) have broken their curse and escaped the Shadowlands and their miserable existence as gold-hoarding goblins. Roan has embraced his new life and his soul mate, Eliza. Dai, on the other hand, hasn't been able to find peace within the Fixed Realm despite his almost immediate attraction to Amanda (Eliza's widowed sister-in-law) and her daughter Brigit. Why are the two of them so familiar to Dai, especially Brigit? It's as if she can sense the dark guilt and anger that's festered within him for two thousand years.

Dai's bitterness and inability to forgive those who tortured and cursed him, Roan and their fellow warriors, eats away at him night and day. Worse, he is unable to practice the magic he's spent centuries researching and perfecting. Birch Bank a far-reaching organization that oversees the use of, or in this case suppression, of magic in the Fixed Realm - has confiscated Dai's extensive library and warned him that to disobey their edict would elicit dire consequences. As a sorcerer whose powers rival those of Merlin, Dai cannot be set loose upon a world that no longer believes. But giving up his magic will doom Brigit (who suffers from a life threatening disorder) and break Amanda's heart.

The story is a bit slow, focussing somewhat heavy-handedly at times on the psychological toll the curse has taken on Dai. His inner torment is stretched out a little too long, but he eventually realises that his love for Amanda and Brigit is the only way to finally let go of his guilt and bitterness.

Husk offers up a truly refreshing mythology though in her Shadowlands series, incorporating not only the dark world of goblins, but also reincarnation, a mix that oddly enough, works. The machinations of Birch Bank and its various representatives make a fascinating addition and will hopefully be more fully explored in future instalments. Make Kiss of the Goblin Prince a must read during your summer vacation.

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