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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Ambitious and meticulously executed worldbuilding brings an animated dazzle to this exceptional assemblage of character studies and complex encounters, while the expressive evocation of its youthful protagonist's shyness and insecurity adds an affecting authenticity to the steampunk-infused fantasy setting. Crafted with a preternatural deftness, the elf kingdom of Ethuveraz is a multilayered masterwork. Its density of arcana, language, ritual, and protocol staggers the long-exiled 18-year-old half-goblin heir, Maia Drazhar, when he is thrust onto the imperial throne after his distant father and more favored brothers are assassinated by an act of airship sabotage. Facing ridicule, racism, and outright hostility, Maia nonetheless stumblingly shoulders the burden, his own outcast status becoming his greatest strength. Acts of kindness and empathy begin to earn him the acceptance, if not outright affection, of his courtiers and the populace. Less a novel than a series of anecdotes, this stalwart endeavor, which is fantasist Sarah Monette's first work under the Addison name, is carried by the strength of atmosphere and Maia's resonant good-heartedness. Readers will hope for many more tales of Ethuveraz.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Good Yarn, But ...
This is an enjoyable novel - good plot, good character development, sufficient action and plenty of suspense, but the names. The names!! I couldn't readily decipher the pronunciation without stopping the story line. It came to the point where I stopped trying to learn the names and relied on visually recognizable letter patterns above the level of pronunciation. It's a good thing I knew the emperor as Maia. If it had been some thing like 'Bfptzlk,' I would have despaired.
I usually don't enjoy court intrigue, but this book may make a convert of me. It is exquisitely written, the world building is sublime, and the character dialog wholly believable. I read it in only two sittings and am so sad it isn't a series. The only issue is the names, which are like the opposite of Hawaiian, all consonants. I didn't even bother pronouncing them in my head as I read through.
The Goblin Emperor
Sci Fi at its best. This was a fun book to read.