September 30, 2023
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Gone Where The Goblins Go
Book Reviews Fantasy SCI-FI

Gone Where The Goblins Go by Matt Betts: A Startling Scifi

Author: Matt Betts

Genre: Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy

Year Published: 2023

Nerdection Rating:

“Nerdection Must Read”

Obsessed scientists, strange mythical creatures, and a father creating kites to sum it all up. That’s ‘Gone Where The Goblins Go‘ but not all of it- a biopunk, military-style science-fiction fantasy book by Matt Betts. Set in futuristic post-war China, Gone Where The Goblins Go features strong female characters and a rescue mission gone all haywire when a dangerous creature is unscrupulously released. The good news is that this amazing title will be available for you to read in May 2023.

Spoiler-free Plot

Tilly is a pilot who leaves the army to care for her father suffering from cancer. Tilly loves him like every good daughter, except that she couldn’t for the life of her unravel the mystery of why he left America and moved to Japan. And starting to create handmade kites.

However, soon after his death, Tilly becomes broke. Luckily, she finds a position at the famous Hofūna Corporation, a nonprofit organization for the conservation of endangered animal species. The job requires her to fly an aircraft to the now ‘Post-war China’, then find their missing mobile laboratory, rescue their conservationist ‘doctor’, and go her happy way home with money in her pockets. At least that’s what the job description says, until Tilly takes on the mission, and learns that everything she’d been told about the mission was a lie.

For she discovers the missing doctor has tumultuous plans of his own, and his obsession with saving the dwindling species of Asian animals may lead to bad choices that will have worse consequences.

In Matt Bett’s ‘Gone Where The Goblins Go‘, meet Tilly and her makeshift crew as they try to save a mission gone all wrong when a Chinese mythical creature is unleashed upon the world by an over-ambitious doctor.

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My Take On Gone Where The Goblins Go

A conservationist doctor tampering with mythical creatures to save animals? Beguiling! ‘Gone Where The Goblins Go‘ has a fast-paced and thrilling storyline that will leave you craving for more. Betts has artfully mashed up biopunk with military sci-fi and light fantasy that will leave you exhilarated.

Gone Where The Goblins Go‘ featured great characters. Of course most of all, I liked Tilly with her fast reflexes. She was a complete badass, flying the helicopter and challenging Harrison (who by the way was a clueless wreck from the start, and like Tilly I wanted so much to kick him out of his position of leadership). So Tilly was a super charged-up character who knew her stuff, and from being a pilot to a leader and then helping those ‘creatures’ out, she was amazing. Not to mention her haircut which in others I may not have approved but I must say it suited and complemented her badass personality.

Aside from our vigorous Tilly, there was Saburo whom I immediately liked. She was a team player and like Tilly, helped advance the crew’s mission when Harrison’s faulty judgment kept blowing it apart in pieces.

There’s a discernible lack of a strong male character in Gone Where The Goblins Go, however strong female leads easily make up for the difference. Nevertheless, the dynamic trio of Tilly, Saburo, and Mingmei will be your absolute favorite to read.

The book deftly merges and challenges many subgenres of Sci-fi yet the plot unfolds smoothly and was undeniably fresh. The throwbacks of Tilly with her father added discernible depth to her story. The stark contrast of action scenes, with those of throwbacks of Tilly’s past where she paints kites with her father and Hirata always left me enraptured.

Moreover, I was struck by the beaten-down image of post-war China and the way people were used as lab rats. However, I think I would have liked to know more about Doctor Oscar and his uncanny love of saving animals. And how he came to believe in Chinese folklore enough to start practicing it.

There are plenty of fast-paced action scenes and Matt described them so well I was engrossed. Surprisingly, the characters sprang into action within the very first few pages. Matt’s writing is picturesque, not to mention the use of humor where I least expected it and that actually left me laughing hard. The ending, though adequate, left a few untied threads. This made me wonder whether Matt will write a sequel for ‘Gone Where The Goblins Go‘. If so, I’d love to read that, though I’d like to know more about the Hofūna Corporation in the sequel.

Recommended for fans of biopunk and military sci-fi though honestly, any devourer of adventure books would love this.

Trigger Warnings

Gone Where The Goblins Go has heavy use of curse words, violence, animal abuse and death of a parent, among others. I’d recommend this for ages 15 and above.

About The Author Of Gone Where The Goblins Go

Matt Betts

Ohio native Matt Betts is a pop culture junkie—sometimes to levels that are considered unhealthy by the Surgeon General. He grew up on a steady diet of giant monsters, comic books, and horror novels, all of which creep into his own work. Matt’s speculative poetry and short fiction have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals. Matt’s first novel, the steampunk/zombie/alternate history adventure Odd Men Out was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award for excellence in independent publishing. He is also the author of the urban fantasy novel Indelible Ink the sci-fi novel The Shadow beneath the Waves and the Odd Men Out sequel, Red Gear 9. His poetry collections include See No Evil, Say No Evil and Underwater Fistfight.

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