Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Title: The Goblin Emperor
Author: Katherine Addison
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Standalone

Hardcover, 446 pages
Publication: April 1, 2014 by Tor Books

Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.

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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 na├»ve 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.

I’m a big fan of steampunk and fantasy, so, The Goblin Emperor which is the blend of both genres was right up my alley. Maia our protagonist and his mother has always lived far from the city as long as he can remember; his dad the emperor didn’t want anything to do with his half-goblin son. Maia is pretty content with the life he has but everything changes with the death of his father. Maia not only has to return home for the funeral but it turns out he is the heir to the throne. Maia’s simple life has just gotten interesting as he ascends the throne as the rightful ruler, and readers follow along Maia has he navigates the court life and its politics. 

Right from the start I knew I was going to like Maia, he is exactly what people look for in a Ruler-Emperor; someone who is kind, fair and upholds truth and equality.  Maia does his best to maintain a strong confident appearance but growing up outside the city has put him at a somewhat disadvantage in the Dos and Don’ts of court life. Maia doesn’t know who he can trust, and the people that he can trust try to distance themselves from him so tongues don’t waggle, as some people feel Maia is giving more importance to people who are nothing but his servants/guards.

Addison has created a fascinating world; I was immediately sucked into everything that was going on around Maia. I love seeing Maia give back to his people, even when there are those who don’t fully support his rule. While I enjoyed the majority of the book, I wish there was more action. The book is close to 500 pages and yet it the book moved at a constant pace; there were not big scenes which made anything you just read less memorable. Also, I’m not sure about other readers who have read this book but I had a difficult time pronouncing the characters’ name. The names were in a way similar to one another but all of it was foreign to me. Every time I try to figure out the correct enunciation, it detracts me away from the story at hand, which happened more often than I’d like.

Overall The Goblin Emperor was still a good read. As I said before, I wish there was more action the story/plot; as I felt myself not fully engaged in the story at times. Regardless I’d recommend this to fantasy fans that enjoy a beautifully written and detailed fantasy-steampunk novel. 

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