I mentioned this book last week but I’ve just finished it and I have some thoughts.
It is written in a very limited perspective. Everything is seen from the main character’s point of view, which is risky because it could make it difficult to relate to other characters but Addison does not fall into that trap. The author makes superlative use of reported speech so that the reader can hear the other character voices in much the same way that Jane Austen did. In fact Addison does a lot of things that Austen did but transports them into fantasy.
The Goblin Emperor also reminded me of the writing style of Becky Chambers as the the novel on a technical level is episodic but it also shares a wholesome warmth that I loved about A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. The main character is just trying to do their best and at this time I all think we need something like this. It is very comforting to read.
Plot-wise Maia inherits the throne after the death of his Father whom he did not have a relationship with – he has grown up in exile and has never expected to ascend to the throne. I don’t want to give too much away but this novel goes in depth with the clothing, hair and administrative duties. Which sounds like I’m doing this book a disservice but I was very much there for all of those things. The minutiae of moments really made this novel for me.
You could argue that this novel is quite safe. There are ideas about race, which are set up but the novel doesn’t really interrogate them very far. Likewise culturally the goblins and the elves are very similar, with one of the main reported differences is that Elves like a sit down dinner and Goblins like a buffet. But then, is this just a way the author wants people see that they aren’t that different.
It fulfilled my need to read something lovely and hopeful and I heartily recommend it.
Buy it from an independent book shop
It is currently available on Kindle Edition for 99p