royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779The Goblin Emperor is published by Tor Books. Katherine Addison is a pseudonym for Sarah Monette.

Maia is a half-goblin prince, “relegated” from the court of his father, the Emperor Varenechibel IV of the elf-lands. When his father and brothers are killed in an airship accident, Maia is suddenly recalled to the court and crowned emperor. Maia struggles, as he hasn’t been educated to be his father’s heir, but he manages to find advisors. The investigation of the airship accident shows it wasn’t an accident. Maia survives two plots to remove him from the throne, and with his patience and virtue manages to win over the court and the elf-lands.

I gather this is a young adult novel, as it has a warm, fuzzy feel, especially at the end where Maia seems accepted and warmly embraced by all. Issues: Once he’s in court, no one seems concerned that Maia is a half-breed, although I’d have expected some discrimination against goblins. I’m also put off by slightly preachy support of education and meaningful work for women. I’d rather this was a bit darker and less certain. Even if it’s meant for young people, it paints an unrealistic picture of what someone can expect from life—things are just not going to turn out to be this easy for the disadvantaged. On the positive side, it’s well-written and creative, a mashup of elves, goblins, magic and steampunk. Four stars.

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