Book Reviews

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino // Book Review


Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”

Louisa doesn’t believe in magic, until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.

The market is a place of magic, where twisting streets, succulent fruits, glimmering jewels, and death are on offer to the unwary human. An enticing place that her mother and aunt barely escaped seventeen years ago, paying a terrible price.

With only three days before the market disappears, Lou must navigate the treacherous market, controlled by bloodthirsty goblins who crave vengeance against her family. She must learn the songs and tricks of the goblins to save Neela, or the market might just end up claiming her too.



No pressure or anything, The Goblin Market is just my favourite poem, ever. I’ve wanted a retelling for so long and although I don’t think this lived up to that, it was a good story in it’s own right, with memorable characters and a creepy, gothic setting in York.

I do want something that’s more of an expanded retelling of The Goblin Market, and this instead takes the basic formula of the Goblins, Market and strict rules to make a new story, about a market based in York and local witches.

I loved many of the characters, especially May, however I did find the main character Lou a little annoying, in the way she would repeat her frustrations with her family’s past being kept secret. While May and Laura felt like fully fleshed out characters, Lou felt a little more like a vessel to tell the story.

That being said, York is one of my favourite cities that I’ve been to many times, so I loved the setting and was easily able to picture the winding streets, blood strewn market and vicious Goblins. This has a very similar vibe and pace to Holly Black’s Tithe, so I enjoyed the feeling of familiarity.

The actual concept of the Witches, I felt, was not fully explored and I would be open to a second book to explore that further, and to develop Lou as a character after May and Laura’s story has closed. And it would be nice to have a cameo from May and her family again, set a year or so later.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments!

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