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  • Writer's pictureCarey PW

Book Review: Humans Are Scary by Christopher S. Opacki

3.5 Stars

Borgu is a goblin that lives in a burrow under an ancient maple tree standing near The Mountainview Cemetery. Humans scare the hell out of him and his best friend, a white rabbit, but he can't avoid confrontations with those evil beings. When the cemetery caretaker causes problems for the forest creatures, Borgu must find a solution before his friends are hurt or possibly killed.

I haven’t read many books like this one, nor do I typically read novelettes. This was a new experience for me. I can definitely tell that I have biases towards full novels because I prefer more character development and world-building that are present in longer works. However, I will share my thoughts about this reading experience.

It was a short, easy read. I don’t have the luxury of sitting down and reading for hours on end, so I read in short, one-hour bursts. I was able to read this book in three sittings. The author dived right into the story, which I appreciate. I was never one for long, drawn-out introductions. I found the relationship between the rabbit, Buddy, and Borgu, the goblin, amusing. Later, I also enjoyed the blossoming relationship between Baby and Borgu. Throwing in magic and spells is always a lot of fun. Borgu is a likeable character. He seems kind, compassionate, and sweet, and he doesn’t want to kill people. He's the opposite from evil depictions of goblins. As a strong animal lover, I related to him through his love for his animal friends, and his desire to protect them.

However, reading this work left me feeling that something was missing. For example, I felt a little lost when scenes changed. One minute, I’m following Borgu and the next, I am with his mother who is seeking a wife for him. There’s a short stay with a wizard, and a brief confrontation with a man named David. These scenes came and went so quickly that I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Toward the end, I got the sense that the story was focusing more on Borgu’s loneliness. The author did convey this issue with Borgu’s friendships with Buddy and Baby; however, I was so focused on the battle with the caretaker that I overlooked it. Thus, I would have liked it if Borgu’s loneliness had been developed more along with his desire for a wife. Also, when his mother meets Padraigan, they seem to know each other, but I didn’t grasp the relationship clearly. Lastly, I was looking forward to the showdown with the caretaker, but it didn’t turn out the way I was hoping.

The novel succeeds as a short little adventure tale. Again, I prefer novels where there is more room for character and plot development, so this work left me wanting more from it. It seems to serve its purpose well, though. If the plot had stayed focused on the battle with the caretaker, I think I would have followed it easier. However, I certainly give the author applause for creating a world with the coexistence of humans and goblins, which shows some good creativity. The love for animals always touches me in the end.

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