Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jennifer Hudock's THE GOBLIN MARKET

The Goblin Market - By Jennifer Hudock - ebook only (at this time)

It is with a great deal of pleasure and pride that I share some wonderful news: Jennifer Hudock has at last loosed a print version of The Goblin Market on the world. At this time it's available as an ebook only (if you aren't a fan of Amazon's proprietary, DRM-riddled formats for these -- and I am not -- you can also snag this from Smashwords in whichever alternative you desire), but in this day and age that's all you need unless you're a confirmed bibliofetishist and crave the feel and smell of dead tree in your hot little hands (guilty).

I first encountered The Goblin Market in podcast form. Like many a brave and enterprising new writer on the scene, Hudock took the plunge, embraced the ethos of FREE, and offered up her baby as an audio gift to the world. It's still there for our enjoyment at her site or via iTunes, and is a pleasure in that format, for among her many talents, Hudock has a pleasant reading voice. It's fun to hear fairy tales told as they were long ago, as oral narratives. We gather beside a figurative campfire and are transported.

It's still nice, though, to experience it in private, at one's own pace and on one's own terms, isn't it? Of course it is. Words cast a different sort of spell in print.

And boy, are spells cast. From the opening scene, evoking the eerie and unforgettable Christina Rosetti poem of the same name, The Goblin Market is an engrossing and enchanting fairy tale for grown-ups, populated by memorable and sympathetic characters, taking place in vividly imagined and affecting scenes, at times lushly romantic and sensual and at others full of the kind of creeping dread we so love in the original, dark versions of Grimm's Fairy Tales -- the ones full of queens being forced to dance themselves to death, of infanticide and cannibalism and monsters with serious appetites and sharp teeth.

Full disclosure: I was one of Hudock's beta readers for this print version, a duty I performed with pleasure, even though I'm not a fan of the fantasy genre. I love Merideth, her heroine, questing after her little sister who was ensared by the luscious fruits of the Goblin Market and kidnapped by the Goblin King; I love Him of the Green, the archetypal antlered woodland god who becomes her companion and then some; I love Kothar, the misunderstood and vengeful Goblin King, lashing out from his nightmarish and decadent castle; I love the creepy Darkjan Wald. I love the bittersweet and dangerous undercurrents of the quest-romance and Merideth's bewilderment at learning she isn't quite who she thought she was.

Oh, for pity's sake. Jenny's asking a mere $2.99 for the ebook. What have you got to lose? Go! Read it! Listen to it! Enjoy!

Go shopping. Try the berries. They're even sweeter and juicier than they look.

Addendum: this weekend only, Jenny has a dead-tree print edition giveaway going on. If she sells a mere 50 ebooks this weekend, the luckiest of those buyers will win a paper copy of The Goblin Market, of which only five exist in the world right now.

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