Jig The Goblin Series, Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, Goblin War-- Jim Hines
This is an entertaining series. The first book is about how a scrawny pushed around goblin is turned into a reluctant hero. Jig is sent out by the other goblins to find out what is happening in the tunnels. He is captured by a group of adventurers who are seeking the Rod of Creation. They use him as bait, beat him up, and forcing him to be point man for their adventuring party. Jig describes things from the monster's eye view. The two human heros are brutish and arrogant, the elvish thief is put upon, and the dwarven cleric is somewhat alright because he lives in a cave.
Jig gains some insight into why the adventurers always win, they work together, practice fighting together, and are always prepared. This is compared to the monsters who always rush in stupidly and get themselves killed. Jig uses this as a learning experience to figure out how to gain magic from the adventurers, he becomes a follower of the deity Tymnalus Shadowstar, a forgotten deity. He figures that if no one is talking to this forgotten god, he at least will talk to a goblin.
What separates Jig from the other goblins is that he is smarter than the adventurers. When faced with a problem, he uses his brain. He helps defeat the dragon, get past the necromancer, and eventually gets his hands on the device which the adventurers are seeking defeating them.
Jig is a reluctant hero. He is also a humorous trickster figure. While appearing wimpy, he uses others strength for his advantage.
The second book in the series is Goblin Hero. After defeating the dragon, Jig is now a hero. He has goblins sing about him, and he can heal the other goblins. The goblin chief is still out to get him, he is a threat to the leadership role.
This is a story about the relations between the different monsters in the caves, the poisonous lizardfish, the hobgoblins, the goblins, the ogres, the tunnel cats, and the various fauna and fora of the caves. The author creates an ecosystem describing how the different things in the cave survive.
After the dragons death, pixies invade the lower cavern. They capture and take control or kill the ogres in the lower caves. Once again, Jig is called on to save the day from the pixish invaders. A new character is added to the story, Veka, a goblin who has decided to become a mage who has a copy of the dead dragons spellbook, and a ridiculous manual on how to become a hero. A kind of Hero With A Thousand Faces manual for adventurers.
Jig must set out for the lower caves with his band of followers, Slash the Hobgoblin, the ancient nursery caretaker goblin, and Veka to find out what is happening, make alliances with hobgoblins, and eventually defeat the pixie invaders at their source.
In the end the goblins and hobgonlins are united in their cave against invaders with a new hero, Jig, and a magician, Veka.
They are ready to face their third task, Goblin War the climax of the trilogy. Jig is enjoying himself in the new found safety of his cave when the humans show up in force with an army rounding up the denizens of the cave. They need the goblins and hobgoblins as forced labor to prepare for war against the mighty orcen army of Billa the Brave. Jig and his friends are between a rock and a hard place.
First, they must face forced labor in the human camps. They are preparing the defienses of some human towns. Even going into the woods is dangerous, the elves will shoot you full of holes while they hide in the trees. It is up to Jig to gather help, escape, and help his fellow cave dwellers.
Jig, even if he escapes, has troubles. If he is not running from the humans, he is running from the orcs who are trying to press gang the escapees into their army. He must avoid the kobold scouts who are looking for him.
While in the orcen camp Jig learns Billa will do anything to insure victory for her side. She is drawing on dark powers to keep her army together. Jig must stop Billa's plan, avoid war with the humans, and keep his hide intact.
Jig learns to ride a giant wolf, talk to walking trees, is forced to eat disgusting human food, runs into his old friend Darnak the dwarf, and lead his people away from danger. This is a nice concluding novel. Jig outdoes himself proving he is one smart, brave goblin. It stills leaves me wanting more. I wonder if there will be a next book in the series.
This is an entertaining series. It is full of humor. It reveals the wonderful silliness and stupidity of most serial fantasy novels. Many of the heroic ideals from fantasy novels are turned on their heads. The world is well crafted. All the different creatures fit into their different settings well. I rather like that the series came out in mass market paperback only. This makes it affordable to buy all three books.