Of course it is Wyrd and Wonder month and that always signifies at least one readalong. I always try to jump aboard because it helps me motivated to pick some of these books that have been on the backburner for me for a while.
Normally I would post a review at the end of the month as I finished the book but this time I decided to answer along the questions in a blog. I was a little behind so that is why this is the questions of two weeks worth. The readalong is currently being hosted by Lisa from Dear Geek Place. She is asking the questions each week in this goodreads group.
Obviously there will be spoilers in here.
Title: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Tags: Fantasy | High Fantasy | Adult Fantasy | Goblings | Elves | Court Politics
CW/TW: Mentions of Physical Abuse
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, 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.
Chapters 1 to 9
The first thing that struck me about this book is the formality in the way the characters speak. What do you think of this style? Do you enjoy it?
It struck me right away as well. Personally it is taking me a bit to get used to it also because Maia’s inner dialogue is not at all formal, or at least I feel the contrast is fairly big. I do however like that Maia is also still struggling with all things formal and makes mstakes. It makes it slightly easier to jump aboard it all.
The reader, much like Maia in his newfound role, is given very little time to get comfortable before being thrown in at the deep end. How do you feel about this approach to the story? Does it help you to empathise with the newly ascended Emperor?
I think at the end I will find that this kind of start worked for it. I don’t think easing into it would have made me feel more comfortable set in this world. I feel uncomfortable and the court sounds frightening. So in that way I do empathize with him, yes.
Too many cooks spoil the political broth, or so it seems. Are there any characters in particular who stand out to you as being the most potentially troublesome? And on the other hand, who catches your attention as being unusually (potentially) helpful?
Well everything is pointing at Chavar at the moment. But I also feel Setheris might bump in at any time and won’t take kindly to being put to the side like that. While the wife of the late emperor seems like a manipulator I feel maybe they might end up getting along. Maybe she was putting up an act for the late emperor and its court.
So the late emperor was killed deliberately, and now Chavar effectively has control of the investigation. I have to know: do you suspect him at all of being involved in the incident?
I do suspect him. But it might as well be one of the ones being friendly with Maia now. Who knows really. We’ve seen too little of them all.
What are your other thoughts/feelings/first impressions?
It is taking me a bit to get into it all. Yet at the same time after putting it down and thinking on it I am eager to get back into it. There is something about the mystery and wanting to see how Maia holds up his own. Also I’d like to know more about his goblin status and all.
Chapter 10 to 17
So many verbal encounters. So much political muck! Let’s start with Princess Sheveän, who seemed so very outraged at the idea of the late emperor’s body being ‘desecrated’. Do you buy that as her reasoning? Or do you think she was making a scene for another reason?
I feel like there is something else going on beneath the surface there, though I can imagine not being communicated the new investigation is also obnoxious to her. I don’t think it is nessecarily something vicious from her side though.
Cala and Vedero both have some hard but pragmatic advice for Maia here: Cala’s concern is for the emperor being seen to be weak for treating his nohecharei as equals when their job is to protect him; and Vedero’s situation is different but her concern is basically the same as Cala’s. She seems alarmed at the idea that Maia might go against society and tradition by refusing to bargain for a marriage for her. How do you feel about these scenes, and the conversations between them? Are they being too harsh and/or cynical, or is Maia simply being too naive?
I understand what Maia wants to do but at the same time doing it in your first few days as new emperor might not be the best time to start hackling some feathers like that. On the other end I don’t think it is Cala’s place to say how Maia should be. Maybe in public there could be a better seperation but when in his own chambers Maia should be allowed to be who he is. They are all trying to shape into this mold of emperor, of his late father and that is just not who he is.
Setheris attempts to come at Maia from his more abusive position, clearly intending to railroad his cousin into giving him a position at court he feels is worthy of him. Yet Maia sticks to his intention of sending Setheris somewhere he will not have so much easy access to the new emperor. Do you think, with that, that Setheris’s days of troubling Maia are over?
No, no, no. People like Setheris need a good boot up the ass before they stop bothering others. I sees Maia as weak, as his. He is not going to let go.
Maia’s grandfather is coming to court for Winternight, though this seems to please Maia far more than it pleases Chavar … What do you make of Chavar’s open disagreeableness during the dinner at the ambassador’s home? Is it plain arrogance (albeit the racist kind), or do you think his disapproval of goblin folk runs deeper than that?
I think there is a lot of things that are running deeper than just what we get to see along with Maia. So it might be plain arrogance of the racist kind but at the same time there might be other reasons for his dissaproval. Also this is the first time in a very long time that this man is coming and I think that makes everyone on edge in a way. What they expect? And why is he coming now?
15 thoughts on “The Goblin Emperor Readalong | Chapters 1 to 17 | #WyrdandWonder”
I agree that Maia should be allowed to act however he wants in private. It’s a bit ridiculous that he has to be formal all the time, and he’s clearly tired of it by now.
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Yay welcome aboard! You make a really good point that Maia should be able to let his guard down in private – everyone seems so utterly intent in hammering home his status all the time, it’s so isolating and exhausting. I really feel for him.
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Totally agree that Maia needs a time and space to be himself instead of constantly maintaining the emperor facade.
With Chavar, I think he may be racist against the goblins but I agree that there was probably a lot more on his mind at the goblin dinner. He’ll have a lot of work to do to prepare for the goblin ruler.
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You made an excellent point about Cala perhaps stepping out of line by speaking to Maia the way he did, and also that it is unreasonable to expect him to be perfectly formal absolutely all the time. In public, sure. But behind closed doors? Let him be himself, Cala, jeez!
We also agree very much about Setheris. I do not like him. Not one bit. Would happily boot him in the backside until he learns respect.
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Agreed, I can’t see why Maia can’t be allowed to relax more in private. It’s a very lonely life and not one that he’s been brought up to expect, it’s only natural that he is looking for support and friendship.
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