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Jewell

House Built of Books

I read. A lot.

Currently reading

Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President
Robert Dallek
The Death House
Sarah Pinborough
Riding North One Summer
Bettina Selby
The Shining Girls
Lauren Beukes
Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West
Tom Holland

If you're a worldbuilding geek, read this now.

The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison

This reminded me rather of Queen of the Tearling in that both plots begin with a very similar situation, that of a young heir having to claim and hold their throne.  I love this plot and would happily read any variation on it.  

 

The Goblin Emperor is much less of an adventure than Queen of the Tearling.  It's a long, slow-paced introduction to a world.  Maia, the fourth (I think...) son of a put-aside wife, never expected to be Emperor, but lands there when his father and half-brothers are killed in an airship accident.  The story takes in his claiming of the throne, coronation, and rocky first few months before emerging from coups and conspiracies as a strong and accepted Emperor.

 

If you want a rich, beautifully imagined world, look no further.  I love a world I can sink into and really inhabit, and the world of The Goblin Emperor is definitely that.  It can be hard to keep all the court names and places straight, but it doesn't really matter much.  

 

Maia is a good character to spend time with.  Exiled and abused before becoming Emperor, he tries to do what is right once he is on the throne, while also negotiating the deadly waters of the court.  He makes mistakes, but never mean-spirited mistakes, and he is always aware of his power having the ability to hurt those under him.  I loved that.  His uncertainty with women was beautifully drawn (and so were the women themselves, and their relative social situations.)  Gradually, Maia makes friends.  

 

Some reviews have suggested that Maia was very lucky in his court in that so many people wanted him to remain Emperor; this is partly true, but it also misses the importance of law in many people's lives.  Maia is the lawful Emperor.  That is enough for him to have people on his side, particularly people in government.

 

I adore government procedural meetings and insights into business in worlds, and was quite happy to read long arguments about building a bridge over a river, but it's possible that not everyone shares this interest.

 

The book does have a somewhat stately pace in parts, weighed down a little by detail, but then that's part of the charm.