Sunday, April 8, 2012

Goblintown Justice (Matt Forbeck)

Goblintown Justice
(A Shotguns & Sorcery story)
Matt Forbeck
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, Fantasy
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Max Gibson didn't go out looking for trouble... not that night, at least. But when you're a human mage in Dragon City, trouble has a way of finding you. A scream from a dark alley draws Gibson to a grisly scene: an orc kneeling over a brutally murdered guardswoman. Worse, Gibson recognizes them both, old colleagues from his shady past. Naturally, just then, the Imperial Guard turns up. The orc Sig insists he's no murderer, and Gibson simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the elf guard captain doesn't care; someone's been murdering enough of his mortal underlings to draw the attention of the Imperial Dragon himself, so somebody's going to pay the price. Max doesn't have much time to track down the real killer before the wheels of Dragon City justice crush another innocent victim.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: A short story that claims to be a prequel to a longer, more ambitious series, Goblintown Justice quickly sketches in a gritty urban fantasy realm full of desperate, corrupt characters. Gibson's briefly-mentioned past seems far more interesting than this brief detour of an adventure, unfortunately; most of the matter resolves itself without his actually solving anything. In the Afterword, the author writes that this story was born out of an aborted role-playing game idea, which might explain the tendency toward racial/species stereotypes, not to mention why the story felt like an excuse to visit Dragon City's seedy underbelly and characters that, no doubt, will be revisited in future adventures rather than a real hunt for justice. While I can see how interesting tales could indeed play out on the streets of Dragon City, I just wasn't intrigued enough by this brief taste to investigate further.

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The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust) - My Review
Finder (Emma Bull) - My Review
The Familiar Dragon series (Daniel Hood) - My Review
Bitterwood (James Maxey) - My Review

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