GOD OF GNOMES by Demi Harper (Book Review)
‘Hope and blind belief can only get you so far. The sad fact is that most people tend to be pretty miserly with their devotion unless they stand to get some sort of reward.’
God of Gnomes is the first instalment in the God Core series by Demi Harper. This one is a little different to the type of fantasy you’ll usually find me reading, as this is classed as a LitRPG. Prior to reading this, I knew next to nothing about LitRPG as I’ve never read the genre before (unless Ready Player One counts?). In fact, full disclosure, I haven’t even played an RPG or played DnD (D&D?) before! Yes, I know, I talk about how much I love fantasy, and yet I’ve never embraced the gaming side of it, but here we are.
Anyway, I digress. This was my first LitRPG, and honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would there be lots of gaming terms I’d fail to understand? Would there be, dun dun duuuun, maths involved? So yeah, I was apprehensive to begin this one to say the least.
Fear not though, Nils, you’ve read this author’s work before, you know she’s a fantastic writer, just trust her. Another disclosure; you see, behind the pseudonym Demi Harper is in fact Laura M. Hughes, the Queen (or maiden) of The Fantasy Hive blog, and she’s a friend, but I can assure you this hasn’t influenced my opinions in this review. My reviews are and will always be honest ones.
However, going back to the matter in hand; having previously read Dear Menelaus, a short story included in The Art of War anthology, and Danse Macabre, a gothic novella, I already knew I loved her writing style. God of Gnomes is a distinct departure from Hughes’ previous work as those were more atmospheric and darker reads. However, Hughes/Harper demonstrates just how much of a versatile author she is, because although God of Gnomes is predominately lighter in tone and more of a heartwarming novel, it is still as compelling, immersive and goddamn entertaining, as I’ve come to expect.
God of Gnomes follows the tale of Corey, who has been reborn as a God Core. If you’re wondering what this means, well essentially, Corey has been reincarnated into a purple gem stone, and tasked to care for the inhabitants of the land he finds himself a god of. He has very little memory of his previous life, and as you can expect, is a tad overwhelmed to begin with! To help him along his way – cue Ket, an adorable sprite, whose wisdom is sorely needed. As the book goes on Corey learns from Ket that the inhabitants he is assigned to are in fact gnomes, seemingly gormless gnomes! Nevertheless, Corey’s main goal is to help this dying race of gnomes thrive, and in turn his power will thrive too in the form of ‘ascension’(this is where the gaming elements come in). You see, if Corey can successfully turn these gnomes to worship him, they will provide him with a flow of mana, and in turn they will attain the ability to not only improve their homeland, but also defend themselves against their enemy, the Kobolds. This seems like a lot to take in, and there is much more to the story, but trust me, Harper seamlessly eases you in, because as Corey’s understanding of his surroundings and limitations grow, so do ours.
‘Who I was doesn’t matter anymore,’ I told the sprite. ‘I’m trying to like who I am now.’
Throughout the course of this novel I found myself completely impressed and entertained by the well developed cast of characters. I mean who’d have thought I could grow to become so attached to a sentient purple gem, a sprite, a hybrid fox-squirrel, a spider, and of all things… gnomes! I did though, in fact there was a point in the book when Corey asks himself ‘when had I started caring about these creatures?’ Well, I found myself wondering this too.
In the latter half of the narrative, when things become tension filled as the Kobolds begin to attack in larger forces, Corey creates and evolves God-born creatures to act as a primary defence during these battle scenes. Before long I found myself anxious as to the fate of many of them, I’m talking nail-bitingly worried! The Forrels, Ris’kin, and Blinky the spider, became beloved favourites. I kid you not, Harper had me worrying over a spider and a squirrel!
Then there was the banter and humour that made Corey’s first person narration so compelling. Corey gave off plenty of sarcasm, especially in the way he was unimpressed by his gnomes’ small achievements, the way he kept believing he was an all-powerful god, until Ket brought him back to reality and explained the rules, and it was truly fun. Even many of the chapter titles were humorous; ‘The Fast and the Furry’, ‘Why, Why, Why Die, Lila?’ and ‘Fireballs on Fridays’ being ones that particularly made me chuckle. I found this all really cleverly done.
‘What would I do without you, Ket?’
‘Waste a lot more time staring pointlessly at things in an attempt to to work out what’s going on around you?’ I sensed her smirking, but despite her teasing, she glowed softly in response to my charitable thoughts about her.
This was becoming far too friendly for my tastes.’
So there you have it. I found God of Gnomes to be a heartwarming tale which essentially deals with good vs evil, and making the right choices, and is one laced full of charm, wit, and cuteness. If you’ve ever been curious to read a LitRPG before, or are just in the mood for an entirely fun adventure, then I’d suggest starting here.
Thank you to the author for gifting me this copy!