Review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

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Publisher: Tor
Publishing Date: April 2014
ISBN: 9780765326997
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Publisher Description: The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Review: The cover art is really pretty cool. Has this hint of playfulness that is not found in the story-line.

Katherine Addison is a pen name for Sarah Monette. This was a truly engrossing novel that captured not only my imagination but my emotions as well. This was a fantastic read. From the characters to the scene development. The story line is epic and involves “Michael Sullivan class” world building.

Briefly, Maia is a half breed cast away prince living in a remote area with his cruel and sycophantic cousin. His cousin is supposed to be his teacher yet has no desire to teach him his heritage. When the royal court that includes Maia’s’ father, the Emperor and all his lineal heirs, die in a dirigible accident, Maia suddenly finds himself the Emperor. What follows is Maia’s journey from pauper prince to Emperor in the midst of tragic succession. There is this underlying tension as Maia is half goblin and half elf while most of the court is elfish. His father married a goblin princess to secure peace between the nations and gain concessions.

This is a complex novel. There is politicking, court intrigue with inter-play amongst the courtiers and familial houses. The naming conventions were a bit hard to keep track of as they were numerous and differed minutely in spelling. The novel does have a glossary of terms that is lengthy in and of itself.

I found myself always rooting for Maia, especially in exerting his newfound power over his rivals. Maia is built a little more humanistic than I would prefer, but still an interesting character. Hopefully he finds love and learns to sword fight, as he is a big puss. This novel is hopefully the first of many that involve the half goblin king.

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