Fans of pixies, elves, fairies and fantasy will find much to love about this novel. Bella is a tall, sturdy, straight-shooting Alaskan with lots of big, strong men in her life (all relatives) to protect her, not that she isn’t marvelous at doing that herself. Her grandma has filled her head with stories of fairies and magic, but Bella thinks they’re just stories, until a little man comes knocking at her door. She greets him with a gun and cuts him no slack.
The little man is a bounty hunter for the hidden, magical world known as Underhill, accessible from the human world by secret doorways. Thom is a humorous, wry narrator, sometimes self effacing, mostly very confident of his prowess and legendary talents as a hunter of things evil. What hope does he have of winning a tall, beautiful young woman like Bella when he is half her height and hundreds of years old? He’s still mourning the loss of his wife and has a doting housekeeper, Ellie, to keep him fed and mended after his battles. A creature of his rank has no right to imagine a future with a princess, much less a princess of Bella’s extraordinary beauty, talent, skill and potential power.
He does have a job to do, though, and that’s getting Bella “Underhill,” underground, into the world of Underhill, where she’ll meet the King, learn who the enemy is, fight goblins, trolls and ogres, start fires, put out fires, keep Lom from getting killed, make friends and learn more about magic than any human before her.
The battle scenes are numerous and bloody, and of little interest to a reader like me, who wants to know the villain firsthand. Who’s sending the goblin armies to Underhill, and why? We’ll have to read the next book to get the rest of the story.
And to get more of those men from Alaska. Guys, you’re tall, but there’s room for you in Underhill. The last page shows us a dragon Underhill, which is a sure hook for readers to buy Book 2. Bring ’em on!