Spectacular Goblins in White Stag || SPOILER-FREE BOOK REVIEW

White Stag by Kara Barbieri



Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Author: Kara Barbieri
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Published: January 2019
Pages: 368 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Initial Thoughts upon Finishing

This was really good! I loved that it’s fae-styled world but with goblins instead of fae. That was really cool and made the more gruesome fighting and nasty behaviour more believable. This has some great characters in it that I really enjoyed and a wonderful journey of self-acceptance. I think Barbieri’s message really comes through in the book with what she talks about in the foreword, too.

White Stag

The bottom line about this book, is that you really should read it because ferocious goblins are the new THING. Seriously, if I don’t start seeing a slew of books about nasty, triksy goblins, I’ll be disappointed. Thank god for Karen Barbieri, am I right?

This book follows the story of a girl who’s been in captivity with said goblins for 200 years. Say WHHAAT. Truth be told, I either wasn’t paying attention or it was never explicitly explained why she wasn’t confused about living for 200 years. But heigh-ho.

Janneke is an awesome, badass girl even if I consistently questioned what was the right way to pronounce that name? My best guess is Jah-neh-k. *shrug* She’s all caught up in goblin politics and we slowly get this traumatic back story. She’s quite disfigured having gone through extreme torture and rape at the hands of another goblin before a nicer one called Soren, took her under his wing.

I liked Barbieri’s little forward at the beginning of this book that addressed why she made this so very, very dark regarding Janneke’s terrible history. It’s worth a read to go into the book with the mindset the author wants you to. Anyway, the story goes forth from the point when the current goblin king DIES. Like, basically, okay – let me give you a rundown on goblin politics so you understand this better . . .

Gobin Politics

This is completely different to fae worlds. Forget your Holly Black, it’s time to relearn the ways of the magical creatures. The goblins in this world have power. Not *exactly* magic, but like a serious life energy is more how I’d describe it. Every time they kill another goblin/human/creature they absorb it’s power. Which makes them more powerful.

Sort of like the abzorbaloff from that very strange Doctor Who episode if you saw that. Actually, that’s a terrible comparison, scratch that.

A magical creature called the white stag chooses the most powerful goblin to be king. Sort of. There’s a huge hunt and the most powerful goblin who wins it has the stag in spirit form by his side to channel out his power thing to the rest of the goblins. And – here’s the clincher – as soon as there is a more eligible candidate, the stag abandons the king and the king dies.

So that’s how this book starts. Soren and the evil rapist from Janneke’s past have an extreme goblin pissing competition and the amount of power that’s thrown around proves that there is now not one but TWO more eligible candidates to rule. And thus the hunt begins.

How does this involve Janneke? Well why don’t you just read the book to find out. But we get to explore a lot about her character and maybe throw some questions about questioning the truth about her humanity . . . So many twisty elements, so many things you didn’t expect from this. So many awesome fantastical characters to battle with and a romance you really don’t expect to blossom.


This book is so. much. fun. We have a character who is unique, living in a goblin world. We have goblins like we’ve never seen them before. We have a beautifully complex (yet not eurgh to read) world. And we have a hunt – and aren’t hunts just the best? It’s exciting and fast paced and I simply cannot wait for the sequel because LAWD what an unexpected ending?!!? Barbieri how could you leave us hanging there?!

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Happy Reading

~~ Kirstie ~~


One thought on “Spectacular Goblins in White Stag || SPOILER-FREE BOOK REVIEW

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