In a world where the gods grew bored of playing games and so created men and demons and dwarves and elves and goblins in order to play an even better game, adventurers know that they might die on a quest. Priestess knows this as she joins her first party and they venture out to hunt some goblins, but the reality is something else again. The whole party are wiped out save for the Priestess who is saved by a man known only as Goblin Slayer.
Now this was a great read from start to finish. Admittedly, the prologue about the gods and rolling the dice had me worried I was in for another fantasy world based on game mechanics (not that I dislike those but I really am growing a little weary of them), but then the story got started for real and I pretty much devoured this book. It is a great adventure story with plenty of action but it doesn’t hesitate to plunge the reader into the truly yucky parts of adventuring (and that includes covering your armour in goblin blood to avoid detection – ugh).
A few minor criticisms to get out of the way and then I will get back to raving about why I had so much fun reading this one.
Firstly, the names. None of the characters have them. They are Warrior, Goblin Slayer, Guild Girl, Lizard Priest, etc, etc. Admittedly, you don’t get confused as each character is distinct enough in personality and role, and the majority of the time you are following Goblin Slayer and Priestess, but really names are not that difficult.
Secondly, midway along in the book there’s some huge world ending threat that gets mentioned and is dealt with almost entirely off-screen so to speak. We get a few updates of bits and pieces about it, but because Goblin Slayer only cares about slaying goblins, he has no interest in that aspect of what is going on and so there’s this whole grand adventure that was probably pretty cool that we will never see. As much as I enjoyed Goblin Slayer’s adventures, I kind of wanted to know more about the demons and the what-not that were causing havoc elsewhere.
However, outside of that, Goblin Slayer is a great read. The tone of the narration worked really well for me as it kind of had a knowing and tongue in cheek approach to sending new adventurers off, most likely to their deaths. The way the goblins are described with a mix of both fear and disdain works perfectly in the narrative. Even Goblin Slayer is built up enough even as his faults are paraded around. It was just immense fun the way the story was delivered and how the characters were set up.
I also really enjoyed the battles within the various goblin nests. Each one had a similar feel and yet became distinct as they moved from caves, to old fortresses to an ancient ruin before the final battle sequence at the farm. Each of these environments changed the approach to battle and made each fight feel really fresh and unique. Plus, Goblin Slayer is not above dirty tactics as he is certainly more about success than looking good, which lends itself to more imaginative fight sequences then you might otherwise find.
Priestess was a character I was worried about early on being a little bit pathetic. However, other than inexperience, she’s actually a pretty decent party member and she grows in leaps and bounds once she is taken under Goblin Slayer’s wing. By the end of the story she is also acting as a voice of reason, reigning him in from some of his more extreme acts that push him to the brink of collapse.
Magic is nicely integrated into the story with some real power, but real limitations. You never feel like magic is just going to save the day, but it does add some useful twists at times and again just makes the fights feel that little bit fresher. The sheer toll it takes on the characters, even someone like Priestess that essentially has no other protection save the few spells she’s able to cast in a day, really adds a sense of danger to each of the sequences.
To sum up, this story was really entertaining. Okay, those who really don’t like blood or the thought of prisoners being raped and mistreated should probably avoid (the goblins are pretty nasty to those unfortunate enough not to die when they lose), but otherwise if you like fantasy adventure stories this one is pretty entertaining.
If you’re interested in reading Goblin Slayer Volume 1 it is available on the Book Depository.
Or, use one of my product affiliate links.