book review, fantasy

Even Goblins Get The Blues by Patrick Rodgers

When a book starts with a foreword by a clinical psychologist praising its depiction of a therapist as neither a conman or a killer, it’s probably a bad sign.

Abernathy the Clear lives in Sapphire City, a fantasy style world based along the lines of Dungeons and Dragons, and runs a successful talk therapy practice based on a book from our world that rather fortuitously fell into his hands.

Each chapter begins from an extract from the Annals of Tycolos, the travelogue of an Elf that is much despised by Abernathy for being outdated.

For over 500 pages, the book describes in minute detail Abernathy’s sessions with his patients, his dates with a woman, his efforts to help the city and his eventual journey to a far off Kingdom.

Abernathy the Clear is a believable therapist. He speaks clearly, letting no stray word that may be misconstrued pass his lips. He cares for others and is never off the clock. It makes sense that he is calm and controlled, even in his private life. Unfortunately, every other character in the book is as calm and forthcoming in their communications, so much so that they are indistinguishable from each other.

The idea of a therapist working in a fantasy world is one open to many humorous situations, but the author seems so keen to present a world of empathy that any potentially interesting scenarios are wrung out, leaving the narrative dry and uninteresting.

The world building is basic; it reads like how a player imagines their World of Warcraft character behaves when they aren’t playing the game. Sapphire City is essentially our world, or the author’s idealized version of our world, with all the mores of the 21st century, without any of the reasons for having got there. Mr Rodgers goes to great lengths to explain the judicial system of Sapphire City at one point, which is extremely similar to how courts work in the western world, and it seemed like a waste of words to me.

When Abernathy is forced to leave the city on a quest, the author describes in full detail the journey, the food, the camping situation and, to be fair, the fights when they occur. Equally dispassionately explained are the sex scenes.

I struggled to finish this book out of sheer boredom. I had assumed that it was going to be a Douglas Adams like riff on the fantasy genre, but when I very quickly learned that this was not the case, I hoped it would turn out to be an interesting murder mystery. I was once again disappointed.

I award Even Goblins Get The Blues

Even Goblins Get The Blues is available for $7.63 ebook on Amazon.

I received a free copy from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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