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Book Review: The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison)

Review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Fantasy / Tor /  Standalone Novel

“‘In our inmost and secret heart, which you ask us to bare to you, we wish to banish them as we were banished, to a cold and lonely house, in the charge of a man who hated us. And we wish them trapped there as we were trapped.’ 
‘You consider that unjust, Serenity?’ 
‘We consider it cruel,’ Maia said. ‘And we do not think that cruelty is ever just.’ ”

The Emperor had four sons, and would have been happy to see any of them follow him on the throne – any, that is, apart from his youngest, neglected and maligned half-goblin son, Maia, who has been kept away from him since birth. A tragic twist of fate, however, leaves Maia inheriting the throne, alone and utterly uninformed about the intricacies of both palace life and the empire’s political situation. Maia struggles against alienation and his own awkwardness and obliviousness to try and make the best of the unexpected (and dangerous) situation.

The Goblin Emperor was a fun and refreshing change of pace for me in terms of epic fantasy. It’s a rarity: a feel-good book about courtly intrigue and political machinations. You put it down feeling, in spite of the manipulation, classism, racism, assassination attempts and general villainy, convinced that ultimately people are good-hearted and generous. It’s strange to think that could feel subversive, but in the current landscape of epic fantasy, it seems like a long time since I read a book as optimistic as this. Continue reading Book Review: The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison)