The Hob by Dana Marie Bell


The Hob by Dana Marie Bell
The Gray Court Book 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (226 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Foxglove

Robin Goodfellow has met his match.

The Gray Court, Book 4

When the Black Queen kidnaps one of the White Queen’s nephews, Robin Goodfellow is sent to ensure that the young prince safely returns to the bosom of his family. True to his role as Oberon’s Hobgoblin, he is ready for anything…except meeting his truebond, the very delicious, very human Michaela Exton.

Michaela has dreamed about a flame-haired rogue named Robin Goodfellow since she was a little girl, but everyone knows Puck doesn’t really exist. In real life, it’s a dark-eyed man named Ringo who makes her heart beat faster.

She is closer to her dream man than she thinks, and nobody knows it better than Robin, who wears the guise of Ringo. But there’s competition for her love in the form of Lord Raven, who holds a secret that will rock the foundation of Robin’s world. As a Black Court delegate does the unthinkable, leaving an enraged, grief-stricken Robin hanging onto his humanity by a thread, only Michaela has the power to bring him back from the killing edge—if she survives.

When Prince Evan Yates, the nephew of Gloriana, the Queen of the White Court, goes missing, she requests aid from Oberon, King of the Gray Court in rescuing him from his kidnappers. Oberon trusts his Hobgoblin, Robin Goodfellow, to do the job. After all, there is only one being more deadly in all of creation than Robin, and that is his King.

This is a political move by the Black Court, but the kidnapping is just a diversion for the real objective: find a way to destroy Robin and his Gray Court so that the Black can assume power once and for all. This is something that Robin is determined to stop, but like all good intentions, complications arise, this time in the persona of one delightful and off center woman, Michaela Exton. All her life, Michaela has been in love with Robin Goodfellow, never once believing he could be real. When Robin goes undercover at the Fairy Con where the negotiations are underway for the return of the victim, Michaela meets Robin, disguised as a man named Ringo Midori, and is drawn to him. Robin recognizes her as his truebond mate, but finds he has unexpected competition for her attention from the most dangerous representative of the Black Court, Lord Raven MacSweeney, the Fear Dearc.

But things are not all they appear to be, and as Robin/Ringo falls under the delight of finding his truebond mate, things begin to spiral out of control in more ways than could be imagined. Can Robin win his fair lady’s hand, while trying to find Prince Evan, and uncover the true reason behind the Black Queen’s trickery? When tragedy strikes, will Robin survive, or will he cause total devastation in his madness?

The Hob is Dana Marie Bell’s fourth entry into the Gray Court series, and is an excellent addition. The world here, as always with Ms. Bell, is extremely well defined, and the characters are all larger than life. This is an imaginative and humorous look behind the scenes at a fantasy convention, as seen through the eyes of the ‘real’ beings, and I enjoyed the irony of it all. There is a darker edge to this, with multiple plot lines running through it, and questions as to who can be trusted throughout the story. Make no mistake, in spite of all the side trips, this is Robin and Michaela’s story, and one of the funniest and most tragic of the series yet.

Michaela Exton is unusual, with a streak of impetuousness and a total disregard for propriety. She is smart, determined and off the wall silly at times, but her devotion to her small patients at the hospital where she works is nothing less than a mama bear for her cubs. She is sassy, and has no internal filters to stop her from saying the most absurd things at times. Her total dedication to Robin Goodfellow, defending her imaginary lover to all her friends, is delightful, especially once she meets the real thing. Once she discovers that all the creatures she believed were imaginary are, in fact, as real as she is, she accepts with an open mind and an open heart. She doesn’t understand how she can love Robin Goodfellow, yet want Ringo too, until he reveals all to her in one night of passion like none she’s known before. I love Michaela, with her funky orange Jeep, her strength of character, and her courage in the face of it all.

Robin Goodfellow AKA The Hob, Oberon’s Hobgoblin, Puck or a myriad of other titles, is the strong, dangerous and extremely lonely man, watching as his friends and acquaintances meet their bonded mates, leaving him ever more alone. Robin is handsome, strong, and extremely loyal to those he surrounds himself with. But he is also lonely, and his dreams of a mate, just one person to be with have been with him a long time. When he meets Michaela, he is stunned to recognize her as the woman from his recent and very hot dreams, and realizes she is meant to be his. I love Robin, for his sense of loyalty, and his total devotion to those he calls friend., and of course, he is totally hot. I loved watching as he fell under the spell of this tiny human woman, and the things he did to win her.

This story is a bit more complex than most of the gray Court Books. There is the usual political posturing from the Black Court, especially from the Malmayne Clan. But there is the side issue of the kidnapping of Prince Evan, the murders around Philadelphia by the Water Horse, or each uisge, and the mystery of Raven MacSweeney’s presence at the negotiations. I loved that Ms. Bell brings in the characters from all the previous books, giving us a look at what is happening with everyone. I enjoyed watching as Ms. Bell subtly wove each of the threads into one marvelous tapestry of love, passion, loss, reunion and a touch of revenge, for a spectacular conclusion to Robin and Michaela’s tale. My one complaint…Ms. Bell has learned the art of the tease, and has left us with a cliffhanger of an ending for the next Gray Court book. I recommend this for those who want to laugh, cry, and fall in love with a rascal named Puck and the woman who steals his heart.

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