I really enjoyed The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino, so when I learned she was writing a Goblin Market retelling, color me intrigued! I can’t say I’m familiar with the Goblin Market story, but you don’t need to know it to enjoy this tale!
Title: Not Good For Maidens
Author: Tori Bovalino
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Retelling
If you’re looking for a really well done standalone fantasy story, check out Not Good For Maidens. I can’t say I know much about goblin lore, but you don’t need to know anything going into this. I do know a little about fae lore, and the similarities between the fae and the goblins is even referenced.
The goblin market appears once a year for a short time. Humans can enter with safe passage for three days, but any more time and they’re at the mercy of the goblins. Witches are forbidden to enter due to a past treaty signed to protect both the witches and goblins.
Lou and her aunt Neela are close in age and therefore close as sisters – as close as they could be when Lou lives in America and Neela in the UK – but Neela visits often. When Neela leaves a frantic voice message for Lou, she knows something is wrong. Lou, her mother, and aunt Mae all return to England to try and solve what happened to Neela.
This is told in alternating perspectives between Lou in the present and Mae, 18 years earlier, when she entered the goblin market and what forced her to leave England for good.
This isn’t a romance story, but there is some romance to be had. Young Mae falls in love with a goblin girl and the two become close, with Mae willing to do anything for Eitra despite her being a goblin and Mae a witchling. It is said on page that Mae is bisexual. In a flashback of the present time, Lou comes out as asexual to Neela while Neela says she is pansexual. I love that these identities are said on page and you aren’t made to guess about it.
I was intrigued the entire time and never felt taken out of the story with the changing perspectives. Mae’s past actions lead to Lou’s current actions in the goblin market and they both want Neela safely returned. While this is classified as horror, I wouldn’t call it too creepy. It has its moments but nothing that will keep you up at night. The authors has content warnings so do check those out, but don’t let the “horror” genre deter you from reading this story!
I enjoyed this one a lot and it’s hard to write a review without giving too much away.
I thought the narrator was okay, but wasn’t the greatest with the British Yorkshire accents. I’m no Yorkshire accent expert, but I don’t think it was that well done… It was also a little confusing at first with alternating perspectives while listening to this story.
The audio overall is fine if you decide to listen to it, but this is one I would recommend reading physically rather than listening to.
I’m giving this 3.5 stars and rounding up to 4 on Goodreads. This is the highest of 3.5 stars! I really did enjoy this story a lot!
If you like retellings and are looking for one I haven’t seen done in YA before, and don’t mind some horror thrown in, I would give this one a chance!
3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: ‘Not Good For Maidens’”
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Brilliant review! I also got an arc from NetGalley (the cover was too good to miss!) and I totally agree, the family aspect and the gory goblin market was so interesting! I loved Neela and Lou’s relationship. It’s a pretty gruesome book but I still enjoyed it – and agree with literally everything you said haha. I talk more about the gore and why it feels to me like more of a thriller than horror in my review here: https://hundredsandthousandsofbooks.blog/2022/09/20/arc-review-not-good-for-maidens/ 😊
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Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m so glad to hear you also enjoyed this one! I’ll check out your review too! 😀