Tag Archives: Goblins

McLeod, Suzanne: The Shifting Price of Prey (spellcrackers.com IV) (2012)

The Shifting Price of Prey is the fourth book in the story of Genvieve Nataliya Zakharinova Taylor, her past, her present and her potential future. You definitely need to have read the previous three novels to get the most out of The Shifting Price of Prey.

As you might have noticed in my previous reviews of the spellcrackers.com serial, I have used art from various sources to represent the creatures/people in Suzanne McLeod’s stories. I have tried to stay true to the characters she describes, but the only one I am certain of is Ricou. Ricou loves putting on the glamour of Jonny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Good choice Ricou. There is just something about Jack Sparrow as presented by Jonny Depp that leaves a lot of women (including myself) wanting to stare. I love the choice McLeod made there.

Ricou and Sylvia are incredibly cute together. The Bitter Seed of Magic showed us the extent of their love across the boundaries of race. Their mothers aren’t pleased with Sylvia and Ricou choosing each other. In The Shifting Price of Prey these same two mothers are still conniving to get their way with Genvieve. One of the many things I love about fantasy and science fiction is the way real life issues are brought to light in a manner that makes me think. Perhaps taking issues into the land of imagination make them clearer and easier to understand for me. Because I find it terribly confusing to try to understand why something like color should make us hate each other and not want our children to love each other. It’s just really weird and illogical in my mind.

Another thing I really enjoy about reading Suzanne McLeod’s story of Genny and her friends is the way she shows us the silly excuses we use in our lives to justify what we do. Take Finn. He drops in from taking care of his daughter. In The Bitter Seed of Magic it is highly likely that Nicky had been raped into pregnancy. Finn and she went off into Between with the other girls who had become pregnant so the babies and the women would be safe. That is completely understandable and Genny agrees wholly with what he does. But Finn is incredibly stupid when it comes to one thing in his life and this time (again) he uses the dumbest excuse to rationalize his actions. I love the way McLeod reveals the issue to us and also my own reaction when I hear his excuse. I cannot help feeling sorry for Finn with his blind side. I also cannot help but wonder what my own blind sides are.

I have met people like Mr. Lampy. Shudder. Genny’s reaction is something I identify with. Mr. Lampy’s creep factor is way out there and as we read through The Shifting Price of Prey it keeps on rocketing. Which is why I absolutely loved Cat-Girl’s question and Genny’s answer at one point. Way to go both of them!

Tarot cards are something I know nothing about, except for what I have seen in movies or read about in fictional works. After reading about the ones in The Shifting Price of Prey I am no closer to becoming a fan of them. If there is one thing that is certain in Genvieve’s life it has to be that nothing comes to her the simple and easy way. Oh, no! Suzanne McLeod has to make her fight for every little answer. As a reader I love, it but I tend to feel sorry for the poor characters who have to suffer the author’s pen.

Anyways! I had fun with The Shifting Price of Prey. Suzanne McLeod met my expectations completely and I certainly look forward to reading the next installment of this serial.


The Shifting Price of Prey on Amazon.co.uk, Kindle, Book Depository, Waterstones

My review of:

  1. The Sweet Scent of Blood
  2. The Cold Kiss of Death
  3. The Bitter Seed of Magic

Carnival Fantastique is based on the Carnival in Trinidad

Murray, R.J.: The Event (Tales of the Triad I) (2011)

The Event

If an author is going to create an Apocalyptic event he might as well do it thoroughly. Killing off seven billion people overnight seems to be pretty thorough to me. Messing with the environment and changing the stars and planets we usually see adds to that thoroughness. R.J. Murray shares such an event with us in The Event. The Event appears to be a science fiction tale that slowly but surely leans toward fantasy. Not fantasy as we know it but rather new technology that has to be developed due to the teeny tiny damages wrought by Earth’s changes. Mutated people that have the qualities we find in traditional fantasy adds to the fantasy feel of the story.

As with other apocalyptic tales, we find that the qualities people already have seem to intensify in times of crisis. This is a normal trait in humans. Any type of traumatic event tends to pare down all of our extras leaving some sort of quality central that we draw upon. This is when we see a person run back into a mall again and again saving people’s lives while others break into buildings raiding them of wares, beat up others and do other heinous deeds. People are people whether our skyline changes or not.

The mutations we see are people whose bodies morph into something other than they were used to being (that is, those who did not turn to dust or remain human). Let’s see what we have:

Wizards are people who find themselves younger/stronger/longer-lived and able to handle the tools left from before the apocalypse. All races have their own wizards.

Elves also seem to be long-lived and changed into a stronger/younger version of themselves. But they seem more attuned to plants and living creatures rather than technology.

Dwarves are like the ones in stories: like to live underground and have an affinity for stone. Dwarves are shorter and more compact than humans. They will probably end up being longer-lived as well.

Humans are more numerous than the others and breed easier. There really isn’t much more to say about them.

Goblins are like the goblins we know from epic fantasy. There are various types, sizes and numbers. Most of them live underground or underwater. They too have wizards.

Thankfully Murray hasn’t fallen for the temptation of making people smarter or dumber than they were just because they happen to be elf, wizard, dwarf or goblin. There are qualities that are intensified but if you were dumb as bread before the apocalypse, well, you are going to remain dumb as bread – and probably dead within a very short time. Some of the people have to learn the hard way and for some that means they end up dead.

That probably tells you that it is not all happy endings. In spite of that I would not say that The Event is particularly dark. It is more like the traditional sword/sorcery stories in tone. I’m guessing this is a young adult story. It’s a pretty straight-forward tale without explicit violence or explicit sex. There is action and plenty of it.

Murray builds his world for us showing us how people become what they are and what happens to the Earth itself. By the end I felt pretty comfortable with the whole thing. I felt there was a proper ending although there was a tiny hill-hanger showing me that a continuation was on its way.

A pretty enjoyable tale that looks as if it has great potential.


  • Print Length: 398 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083CMJ74

Moore, Mary C.: The Shadow Killer (2011)

Shadow Killer
Cover art by

The Shadow Killer is only 10 pages long, but Mary C. Moore manages to fill those ten pages with so much sadness and hope that it made me want to weep.

Being homeless must suck in a major way. There are no safe places for you. Anywhere you lay down you risk being chased from. Others treat you as if you are invisible and those who do see you often look at you as if you are trash whose only function in life is to be stepped on.

“The girl is tired. She is more than tired; she is bone-weary exhausted. The only sleep she has had in the past few months is what she could catch while the sun was high in the sky. Only then could she risk curling in a ball on the unforgiving cement to sleep. She cannot try to find a place at night, she cannot go to a shelter, she cannot sleep without the sun because …

Because, every night the goblins come for her. The goblins are hunting, and she is their prey. She doesn’t know how or why, but she does know when. A black mass that seems to be nothing but nails and teeth follows her. Gibbering, drooling, hissing, they hunt her when the shadows become long.

She cannot sleep without the sun.”

Reading these paragraphs made me want to cry. The whole beginning of this short story made me want to cry. I know this tiredness. I know this fear. My goblins may have looked human but that was only skin-deep. Thankfully, this story like my own carries with it a lot of hope.

Dark fantasy like The Shadow Killer makes a difference in how life can be perceived. Hail to Mary C. Moore for writing fantasy in a manner that neither preaches nor gives easy solutions. Dark fantasy rules!

  • File Size: 151 KB
  • Print Length: 8 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007NU5KVE

Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Hobbit: There and Back Again (1937)

Cover art 1975 ed. by J.R.R. Tolkien

I wonder if I came to The Hobbit the same way everybody else has. First I read The Lord of The Rings. I loved it. Then I discovered that Tolkien had written other books and one of them was The Hobbit. I set out on a quest to go through all of his fantasy work. I should probably read some of Tolkien’s academical work as well, but alas. I have wondered at the sense of writing yet another review on the subject. Then I remember how much I liked The Hobbit and I think that there probably is room for another fan out there amongst the 1s and 0es.

David T. Wentzel 2nd ed. cover

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892 …. At the age of three his mother brought him and his younger brother, Hilary, back to England. Tolkien’s father died soon afterwards in South Africa …. When he was 12, Tolkien’s mother died, and he and his brother … lived with aunts and in boarding homes …. The young Tolkien … excelled in classical and modern languages … and began to create his own languages….

Tolkien wrote ‘A Middle English Vocabulary’, but it was not published until 1922 …. During this time he began serious work on creating languages that he imagined had been spoken by elves. The languages were based primarily on Finnish and Welsh. He also began his “Lost Tales” a mythic history of men, elves, and other creatures he created to provide context for his “Elvish” languages…

It was also during his years at Oxford that Tolkien would scribble an inexplicable note in a student’s exam book: “In a hole in the ground         there lived a Hobbit.” Curious as to what exactly a “Hobbit” was and why it should live in a hole, he began to build a story about a short creature who inhabited a world called Middle-earth. This grew into a story he told his children, and in 1936 a version of it came to the attention of the publishing firm of George Allen and Unwin.” (Tolkien biography, Tolkien Library)

Note:  On Thror’s map, east is up.

The Shire is an idyllic place to live. Middle-Earth’s rising problems have not yet impacted on the Hobbits living there, and they will not for quite some time. Bilbo Baggins is a seemingly average hobbit. Hobbits are shorter than humans, have furry feet (making foot-wear uncomfortable) and enjoy socializing. Bilbo lives contentedly in his hole in the ground on a hilltop.

Drumroll. Gandalf arrives. Thus far, The Hobbit has been a pleasant children’s tale, not really giving warning of anything nasty about to come. Gandalf is one of the very certain pointers to dangerous things coming one’s way. To begin with Gandalf’s visit is fairly pleasant. But then 13 dwarves appear, for some reason with the belief that Bilbo is supposed to be one of their party searching for the Lonely Mountains and the treasure of the dwarves. After a lot of convincing by Gandalf, both parties decide to give the adventure together a shot.

If you think children should only meet pleasantness, this is probably a good place to end the story. What comes after entails quite a bit of unpleasantness. But the unpleasantness is presented in such a manner that a child would probably want their parent to keep on reading (and you as a parent would want to keep on reading yourself). The Hobbit is certainly not only a children’s tale. It is very much for adults as well. But please do not try to analyze the book. Tolkien himself said that The Hobbit was what it was – no allegories or hidden messages were intended.

Riddles in the Dark by Alan Lee

I’m not really sure how much to reveal. This is a story that is about to be blown open by the movie industry. But until then, it might only be fair to the reader to keep some things under wrap. Tolkien introduces us to the mythology of England through The Hobbit. I’m certain his children loved the way Tolkien made English mythology so accessible for them. Through The Hobbit and The Lord of Rings we as an audience get to know old English beliefs about the world of the fantastic.

On his journey with the dwarves, Bilbo meets trolls. As a Norwegian I am very familiar with the troll myth. Trolls aren’t cute little key-chain trolls that you can get at souvenir stores. They are ugly, large and quite often stupid. Unfortunately for most of the people they meet, trolls are also capable of smelling their victims and finding them wherever they are. But there is one advantage to be had over trolls, and that is sunlight. They turn to stone if even a ray hits them.

Gandalf introduces Bilbo to Beorn by Michael Hague

Shape-shifters, on the other hand, are not a common Norwegian myth. Bilbo gets to meet one of them, in the shape of Beorn. As you might guess from the name, Beorn’s other shape is a bear and he is a fierce fighter. He is wary of strangers, but once he takes to you, he is willing to go to great lengths to help you.

The Arkenstone by Michael Hague

The other non-humans that the gang of 15 meets are elves, who are good for a given definition of good. Some of the baddies are wargs (great big hulking wolves), goblins (tend to want to eat you) and Smaug the dragon. Smaugs lair is where the treasure is (otherwise The Hobbit wouldn’t be as fun). Smaug is who we see on the cover above.

As Gandalf had predicted at the beginning of the book, Bilbo would not remain the same person as he went through his adventures. And this prediction comes true. A very changed hobbit meets us at the end of the book. He has discovered that he is capable of a lot more than he had thought possible. And if we absolutely have to look for a moral to this story, I guess that is as good as any. We are capable of more than we think is possible.



1938: New York Herald Tribune Children’s Spring Book Festival Award.

For all of you Hobbit-nutters out there, you can now get the Latin version of the book. See Middle-Earth News for information.



1966: A 12-minute film of cartoon stills by Gene Deitch.

1977: an animated version by Rankin/Bass. Nominated for Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. I’ve seen this several times on national TV and quite like it.

2012: planned release of film-version of the first installation in a three-part story by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and New Line Cinema. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; The Hobbit: There and Back Again.


1978: Romeo Muller won a Peabody Award for his teleplay for the Rankin/Bass The Hobbit.


1953: First stage production by St. Margaret’s School, Edinburgh. Several others have followed later.

1986: The Hobbit (A Musical) was produced for the stage by Khandallah Arts Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand.

2001: The Atlantic Theatre Festival in Wolfville, Nova Scotia is presenting a production of The Hobbit.

2012: The Hobbit returns to The Maverick Theater in Fullerton, California.


1968: Radio-adaptation in eight parts for BBC Radio4 by Michael Kilgarriff. Was released on audio cassette in 1988 and on CD in 1997.


1989: three-part comic-book adaptation by Chuck Dixon and Sean Deming and illustrated by David Wenzel. Published by Eclipse Comics.


1982The Hobbit, by Beam Software and published by Melbourne House. A copy of the novel was included in each game package.

1999: ME Games Ltd. was offered the licence to run Middle-Earth Play by Mail, an ongoing team-game based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

2012: The Hobbit: Boardgame by Fantasy Flight Games.


1983: The Hobbit (Beam Software) won the Golden Joystick Award for Strategy Game of the Year in 1983.

1995-1999: Fellows of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design awarded the Origin Awards: Best On-going PBM Game: Middle Earth PBM Fourth Age (Game Systems).

1999: ME Games PBM was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design’s Hall of Fame.