The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Maia is the fourth, much despised, half goblin son of the of the emperor of the Elflands. He has lived his whole life in exile, banished for the crime of being borne of a bride that the Emperor did not want. Uneducated, uncouth, and unpolished, Maia is ill-prepared to become Emperor when his father and three older brothers die in an airship crash. But Maia is thrust into the position and must learn how to govern, how to be always surrounded by people but forever set apart from them, how to bear the great weight of responsibility he feels for the people of the Elflands.

Now, anybody who talks to me for any length of time about books will soon find out that my favorite characters are always the ones who need a hug. But it’s more exact than that. Not only do my favorite characters need hugs, they are usually the ones who probably wouldn’t accept a hug, especially one given with the “OH BEBE, I FEEL YOUR PAIN” look that would be sure to be on my face at the time of said hug giving. The eponymous Goblin Emperor is no exception. Maia might personally accept a hug from somebody who seemed genuinely sympathetic to him but obligation to protocol, to his duties, would keep him from accepting. Which just means I want to hug him all the more.

The Goblin Emperor tells the story of the first few months of Maia’s reign. Of how there are some of his father’s policies that Maia absolutely cannot live with, of how he learns which things his people will not allow him to change, of how Maia learns who he can trust and who he cannot, of how Maia builds relationships with the family he has left, of gender relations in the Elflands, of class disparity and the consequences of that going on too long, of Maia learning who he is now that he is suddenly The Goblin Emperor.

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