Book Review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison Found this book on a couple year’s best lists and figured I’d better add it to my nomination season reading pile. I can see why it rated so highly.

Even though I’m not really a court-intrigue fan, this book really held my attention. It’s interesting because rather than focusing plot, it’s more of a character study of command. As the book begins, our protagonist Maia learns that his father, the Empreror, and his three elder half-brothers have died in an airship crash and it has fallen to him to become the Empreror. The late Emperor didn’t love Maia’s mother and sent them away from court. She died when Maia was very young, then he was given to the care of a cruel guardian. As a result, Maia was never educated properly. The novel focuses on Maia’s struggle to measure up to the overwhelming task of becoming the ruler when he has no friends or training to help guide him. His job is made harder because he looks more like his mother’s countrymen (who are looked down upon as being less refined than his father’s), so the novel also addresses what it’s like to try to earn respect in the face of prejudice. I won’t spoil the details of his inner journey for you, but The Goblin Emperor is easily in my top 15 SFF books of 2014. Award nomination season is just a little harder for me thanks to this book! 😉

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