The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette

17910048When I started reading this book, I initially felt a bit disappointed and very confused.  I’m going to go ahead and give you the blurb so I can jump right into this review:

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.

So, at the beginning of the book the reader is met with some dialogue that is archaic and basically, just hard to read. You have to translate it using context clues. I didn’t understand the titles for half the book. You also get this main character who seems dreary, whiny, and weak. You wonder why you are reading this book in the first place; it doesn’t seem to be going any where. Where’s the action? Where’s the traditional fantasy or the dark fantasy?

But then somewhere, right before you are about to go read something else, you fall in love with Maia, the main character. He is flawed, yes, but not in the normal main character/big ego sort of way. Instead, he is quiet, concerned, and most importantly compassionate. He becomes everything you never realized that you wanted in a character.

The story of his rise to power isn’t one of blood or even traditional glory, but one that grows on you like a soft, creeping moss that just envelopes everyhting. His everyday challenges become your challenges and you will cheer him on and there will be many cries of “AWW!”

Just don’t go into this book with the expectations that this is going to be full of sword/magic fights. It has action, but more than that it has intelligence and a bit of grace. It’s the kind of book that leaves you with a smile and a good day. And this is all being said by a major cynic. So, take a chance if you feel bold or down in the dumps! Also, if you don’t believe me check out this awesome review on A Dribble of Ink.

The Goblin Emperor on Amazon

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