Imagine you’re playing World of Warcraft, except that every one of the quests has a sexual element to it. Imagine that someone decided to write this into a novel, but they set it in a totally original world that still captures that feel. Imagine that this was done by a talented writer who creates vivid, memorable characters and keeps you turning the pages, with a story that would be well worth reading even without any of the sex in it. Now imagine that the sex is vivid, unapologetic, and full of many different flavours that should appeal to just about everyone at some point.
That comes close to describing this book!
I would probably classify The Little Goblin Girl as “LitRPG-erotica.” I don’t know why it hasn’t become a huge sensation among World of Warcraft and D&D players yet – because, let’s face it, there’s a huge market for related erotica out there, and this definitely fits the bill.
Maja, the Little Goblin Girl, is a plucky and thoroughly likable character, endearing in her innocence and her innocent and fully realized sexuality. When she ventures outside of the goblin slums and into the wider city-state of Trinity for the first time, she discovers a dangerous and complex world that is hostile to goblins. Fortunately she is surrounded by good, although flawed, people, who seek to protect her and the goblins of the city because it’s the right thing to do.
Faced with the threat, Maja works to come into her own power and become a major asset to her new companions, not just a passive victim of fate, and she does this without losing any of the beautiful and compassionate nature that makes her who she is. The message is overwhelmingly one of love being stronger than any hate. It’s delightfully refreshing in this age of “grim-for-grim’s-sake” writing and the cynical public discourse.
Each one of her companions, from her human lover, to her half-goblin friend-with-benefits, to her half-goblin friend’s somewhat unusual girlfriend, to their adventuring companions (the other “guildies”) has their own story and their own motivations for getting involved in the situation, whether it’s love, friendship, sympathy for the goblins’ plight, or just a desire to do the right thing. You quickly care about each of them, and, I imagine, choose your own favourite to follow.
As to the erotic elements: you can find everything here from relatively vanilla heterosexual sex to gender-switching BDSM and rape play. But understand that everything is consensual; and moreover, Hymen (what a choice of a name!) goes out of her way to make that clear, even when demons are involved. There are even intersex and transgender characters. The only thing missing are gay men, and I understand that’s because Illy chose to focus on the women (and femme) characters in this story. Above all, I really approve of Maja’s playful view of sex. For her, it’s all about joy, and what you like is what you like, and in an ideal world, that would be what it would be.
Not to mention, Hymen pulls no punches. We’re immersed in erotica by page 17 and you can pretty much expect something sexy as a feature of every chapter. Her language is absolutely unapologetically sizzling too! Be prepared to lock the door!
The only reason I’m giving it four stars, and not five, is that I think it suffers a bit from the entrenched RPG language. Guilds and quests and tanks exist without a lot of explanation or in-world justification (at least, not that’s revealed in this book; maybe it’s going to be a feature of the rest of the series) and the motivations of the Trinity Guard confused me somewhat at about the two-thirds mark of the book. If you’re a fan of LitRPG, this won’t bother you in the least. But on a broad scale of fantasy lit it can feel like a flaw in the worldbuilding.
Of course, if that’s the only complaint I have in an erotica book, it’s definitely coming out ahead! It certainly reads better than pretty much every erotica thriller I’ve ever read, with their plethora of poorly-researched secret agents and military operatives!
If adventure fantasy is your thing and you wish there were more sexy stuff out there in that vein, or even if you’re just a grown-up adventure fantasy fan who’s willing to stretch your horizons a bit, I would definitely recommend this book! I look forward to seeing more from Illy Hymen and I’m waiting for the second book in the series with bated breath. Take that any way you want. 😉