Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Tor Fantasy (March 3, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars
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.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne-or his life.
Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.
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After reading The Goblin Emperor I couldn’t help but smile at the end. Not only was it a fantastic and phenomenal read but the main character was so enjoyable and likeable that you couldn’t help but root for him even when he did things wrong or abused his powers in some way (although he later regrets it). A hero with a conscience. Something that is becoming rare (at least in my opinion) in the fantasy genre. Everything is dark and dreary. Hopeless. Not with The Goblin Emperor. Through it all the light shone brighter than the darkness.
Without rehashing the synopsis—the main character Maia is thrust into a world of power, politics, murder and conspiracy. Not only must Maia grow up in a hurry but he also needs to learn how to play the game. This happen to be a great coming-of-age story mixed with fantasy. Although Maia can’t wield a sword or have super powers, he is smart with his words. And we all know how powerful words can be.
With that being said, I really enjoyed the complexities that embodied Maia. Even though he was an outcast, and treated horrible, he never let that change him for the nice, vulnerable and carefree person that he is. Not for nothing but I’m the type of person that would have gotten my revenge on all the people that did me wrong. Sadly, I’m not as mature as Maia…lol. And that is what I truly enjoy about the about the main character. He was mature and wise beyond is youthful age. Especially, when his world was turned completely upside down. Also the fact that he was half goblin, so you know the whole disdain/distrust of people that are not purebred. Yes I used a term that most often goes with describing dog but I think it fits in this case.
Anyways, it time for some of the things that I did not like about the book. Which is the reason for the 4 star rating. This book could have been 5 stars in my mind but this one thing kept nagging me. More like irritated the hell out of me.
The made up language was a no-go for me. This is what in my opinion made this book so challenging. Everything had a Z or X and I just couldn’t fathom how to pronounce the places or the people. Speaking of the people—most had the same name. Or at least close to the same spelling which in itself is confusing to the reader. I know authors like to come up with new and innovate languages but sadly, this not work in Katherine Addison favor. I pretty much garbled my way through the names and language. Which in turn took me out of the story a few times. Still with these setbacks and flaws, I greatly enjoyed reading about Maia and how he navigates the world of politics and power.
With a writing style reminisce of the 80’s and a JK Tolkein feel, The Goblin Emperor is an outstanding, and quite often challenging read. From the groundbreaking world-building to plethora of great characters, Katherine Addison’s book is one you soon won’t forget.
Sidenote: I received a copy of The Goblin Emperor in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Tor Books and Emily Mullen.