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I picked up Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison on the recommendation of Chaima . I jumped in blindly based on just a passing comment from them about the character attributes of the MC in this book and I was so glad I did.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exiled , 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 naïve 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.
Content Warning : Physical and Mental abuse mentioned, Death of a family member, Grief and Loss Depiction
In a Nutshell….
- A coming of age story
- Royal Court Politics
- Underdog/Underestimated character trope done to perfection
- A precious soft cinnamon roll MC
- An intense character study exploring childhood abuse, loneliness, grief
- Found family
Goblin emperor has taken the place of my absolute favourite book of 2021. This book was pure pleasure to read. It had all of my favourite tropes, amazing character growth and a main character so precious that you want to protect them with your life.
Maia is the forgotten half goblin son of the emperor, who is so far back in line to the throne that absolutely no one expects him to sit on that very same throne. But an unexpected tragedy involving an aircraft carrying the emperor and all his sons sees Maia becoming the emperor and nobody is particularly happy about it.
“The memories of a thousand separate cruelties mocked him, but no one save Maia himself had ever counted those as wrongs, and it was unjust to have them declared wrongs now, merely because he could.”
Forced into exile and made to grow up with a cruel guardian for his ‘inferior’ ancestry, Maia could absolutely have misused the supreme power he suddenly gains. After knowing only cruelty and abandonment for most of his life it would have been far too easy to mistreat his tormentors but every single time, he tries and tries the hardest to do the right thing and that was just, such an achingly beautiful thing to experience through the delicate writing of Katherine Addison. It reminded me of this quote by Toni Morrison which says :
‘I just think goodness is more interesting. Evil is constant. You can think of different ways to murder people, but you can do that at age five. But you have to be an adult to consciously, deliberately be good – and that’s complicated.’
The book also goes in depth to dissect the consequences of sudden ascension to power – the alienation it creates and how it makes a virtual prisoner out of you. The loneliness that accompanies such a position in life and the extreme mental stress it puts you through is explored painstakingly. With Maia being the most precious, gentle hearted, gem of a character he is, you feel that ache deep in your marrow.
“It was the first time in his life Maia had been surrounded by people who were like him instead of only snow-white elves with their pale eyes, and he missed several names in the effort not to faint or hyperventilate or burst into tears.”
But it’s not just Maia that would keep you hooked to this book. The thoughtful, sublime world building , the deft handling of the internecine politics and the equally adorable side characters to root for (Csevet in particular) will all keep you thoroughly entertained till the end.
If cinnamon roll characters , coming of age and underdog tropes mixed with some political intrigue are your jam, then please please pleaseeeeee pick up this precious precious book, feel all the feels and thank me later.
You would love Goblin Emperor if you loved :
- King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
- Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
- Daughter of the empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurtz
Let’s Catch Up
Have you read this book? If so please recommend me some others that are similar. If you haven’t read this one yet, please do and let me know which book is your top favourite so far in 2021 in the comments below 👇🏻Follow Books with Anjali on WordPress.com