The Goblin Emperor – Book Review

9781429946407

Finished reading:

The Goblin Emperor

by Katherine Addison

★★★★

Expectation

I’ve come across this book last year when it was nominated for a Hugo award. From all of the nominees I wanted to pick up at least one book to check out what goes for a note worthy science fiction these days. I was drawn into the story with an underdog character and intrigued with steampunk elements it promised.

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Summary

The story begins with news that the emperor and most of his family and heirs have died in a crash of a royal steampunk airship. The apparent heir to the throne is long forgotten fourth son of the recently deceased emperor who has been tucked away from anyone’s sight for almost a decade. His father banished him as he did to most he did not like or care about. Thus, a secluded and mistreated youth moves to the heart of the empire to become the new emperor.

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To top it all Maia – the new would be emperor – is part goblin from his mothers side. And the throne he is to sit upon is from his fathers side of the family which are elves. This is a story about how a smallish eighteen years old young man that has been living in the middle of nowhere, neglected and abused gets thrown into a whirlpool of court intrigue and tightly balanced politics.

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Author was very thorough with intertwining subtle court and cultural intrigues. Most of the elaborate cultural details and quirks require readers patience. Some things I had to concentrate hard at to understand and had to read it more than once.

The colorful names and cultural subtleties gave me much grief. I would have loved to have read the names, customs and pronunciation guide at the beginning of it all instead at the end. This way I had a revelation reading the explanations at the end of the book.

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Conclusion

I liked this book. It was fun rooting for Maia and reading about him becoming an emperor in truth. With great power comes great responsibility…and also many enemies as well! I liked that the story had a certain sense of flair and a feel of a great saga beginning to unfold.

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