Rating: 4.25 stars
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Goss – short for Gossamer – is a hobgoblin on a mission. Or rather, he’s one member of a party of loveable misfits sent on a mission from Queen Valloria to determine whether or not the evil kingdom of Gungondor does in fact have a magical weapon of mass destruction. It’s a mission that has so far seen to the demise of two members of their party, which leads Kiona, the human woman in charge of their motly crew, to go looking for a new fourth.
And pity poor Goss when he lays his eyes on their new member, the lovely nightfae necromancer Pox, and falls instantly in love. For Pox — Poxagliarri D’eimour — the lowly hobgoblin is good for one thing and one thing only. Menial labor. He’s rather certain that Goss would make a wonderful manservant.
Add in a dwarven bard and his wand of flatulance, a warpig, and a two-headed faery godmonster and you have the makings of a comedy of errors, rife with misunderstandings, thick-headed heroes, and two would-be lovers kept apart by their own obliviousness.
Normally I’m not a fan of “love at first sight” stories, but somehow this one works for me. Goss is a soft-hearted hobgoblin who only wants to soothe away the aches and pains of his party, and maybe get a little closer — okay, a lot closer — to a certain necromancer. He’s so earnestly and immediately smitten, and yet so sweet and pure that I can’t help but be charmed.
It’s a lucky thing for Pox that Gossamer is a bit of a saint, because no one but a saint could love a stuck-up, vain, and egotistical man like Pox. Pox has his reasons to keep people at arm’s length, as well as his charming personality. At first he treats Goss like a servant, ordering him about when he’s not ignoring him, but it’s hard to ignore someone so obviously besotted with you.
There’s also his slight fascination with Puff-Puff, the faery godmonster that shares Goss’s life. After all, it’s not every day you find someone with such a powerful guardian. Eventually Pox can’t help but reciprocate the feelings, but he does so in such a clueless, clumsy way that it only leads to more misunderstandings. Even clueless Kiona figures it out before the two of them do, and that’s saying something!
The world building is light and simple, drawing on familiar tropes to anyone whose ready a fantasy story or played any MMO — be it table-top or online — which helps color in the background world and story. The characters are true to themselves without falling into cliched tropes, only skirting lightly around them.
This was a fun book to read, with just enough humor and romance to flesh out the plot. I’m glad there are sequels planned because I truly enjoyed watching Goss and Pox make a muddle of things. I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for them.