The Goblin Emperor

The Goblin Emperor

Book - 2014
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"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 naîve 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" -- from author's web page.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780765326997
Branch Call Number: SF ADD
Characteristics: 446 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

IndyPL_SteveB Jul 03, 2019

An aggravating book. This is a first novel written with great energy and the author has an exciting plot. But I found myself constantly noting the flaws even as I was compelled to turn each page. Maia is the half-goblin son of an Elvish emperor. The emperor took Maia’s Goblin mother as his 4t... Read More »

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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 12, 2019

Great high fantasy read. Had some similarities with the first book in Johansen's "Queen of the Tearling" series.

IndyPL_SteveB Jul 03, 2019

An aggravating book. This is a first novel written with great energy and the author has an exciting plot. But I found myself constantly noting the flaws even as I was compelled to turn each page. Maia is the half-goblin son of an Elvish emperor. The emperor took Maia’s Goblin mother as his 4th wife in a political move, spent one night with her, and ignored her after. The one night produced this son, but he only met his father once, at the age of 8 when his mother died. Otherwise Maia had a miserable childhood, with only a court outcast, bitter and cruel, to educate him and see to his needs. When he is 18, his father and all of the other heirs are murdered. Maia is suddenly proclaimed as the heir to the throne and is thrust into the politics and subterfuge of court life. Lots of interesting characters and clever intrigue make the story flow well, and you really do empathize with Maia and want him to succeed.

However, nothing shows us why Maia would have the wisdom and kindness to survive court intrigue and to be a kind and empathetic Emperor. It is just the magic hand of the author. A much bigger problem is that the culture portrayed in the book is a random mixture of ideas from other books, collaged together with no coherent history to show how the culture might have evolved that way. And why use the terms “Goblin” and “Elf” when it is apparent that these are more like two races of human?

There are many other amateurish mistakes that a good editor should have helped with. But grumbling all the way, I still read the whole thing in two days. The author has obvious talent and perhaps later books in the series will be more controlled and consistent.

Hillsboro_RobP Apr 22, 2019

Tired of your typical fantasy battles and back-stabbing court intrigue? Want to see a monarch just show up and do a good job? Need less magic and more logistics of running a kingdom?
Winner winner.

Keep in mind, "goblin" in this context just means a different, slightly darker racial group rather than the pokey little critters fantasy readers might be used to.

LPL_LeahN Apr 13, 2019

Maia is the half goblin outcast of his royal family, until a mysterious airship crash kills his father, the king, and three half brothers, leaving him as the sole surviving heir to the throne. When he arrives at court to take over a kingdom, he has no allies, unknown enemies, and a murder mystery to solve.

This is an award winning novel and features one of the most endearing protagonists I've ever read. The court intrigue keeps you turning the page, but it's really Maia who sucks you in. This is a must read for lovers of character driven fantasy.

May 30, 2017

Deemed "forgettable" due to his half-goblin ancestry and relegated to spending his life in a remote outpost at the command of his estranged father, the Emperor of the Elflands, 18-year-old Maia is unexpectedly thrust into the unanticipated role of emperor when his father and brothers perish in an airship disaster. Though inadequately educated and woefully unprepared for this new role, Maia claims the throne and begins the colossal undertaking of assembling advisers, familiarizing himself with palace protocol, gaining and understanding of his lands and peoples and their concerns, and becoming acquainted with his newfound relations, many of whom are less than pleased at his presence -- all while trying not to make a fool of himself.

Although this book is categorized as fantasy, don't let mentions of elves and goblins deter you -- in this tale they could just as easily be played by any two human ethnicities. 'The Goblin Emperor' is much more about court intrigue, coming of age, and proving oneself.

SaraLovesBooks Sep 07, 2016

This is one of the best epic fantasy books I have read in a long time! I loved that it had a half-goblin hero (there are not enough goblins in my life.) I also loved the murky political situation and court intrigues.

Maia is a bewildered hero, and as he learns everything about surviving in the court, the reader learns too. It has adventure, comedy, some romance, and drama. It has a little bit of everything.

Jul 22, 2016

loved the story, and wish i was still reading it but... i got lost and confused over and over with the complicated names of the many many characters, and the strange words. the appendix didn''t help at all. it made reading this book much heavier than it needed to be.

Jun 03, 2016

What an unexpectedly beautiful and powerful tale! This one goes in my "instant classic" file, and also my "must read again" VERY short list (b/c there are so many NEW things to read!).

I was initially put off when the summary indicated lots of court intrigue. But seeing it through the immensely likable hero's eyes made it achingly real and relate-able.

This book is a true hero's journey with danger, comedy, a dash of romance, and some profound inspiration that ultimately uplifts the reader. It's a tale you'll ponder long after you finish the last page!

Mar 09, 2016

I struggled with trying to figure out what this book was- a mystery centered around the search for the killer of the last emperor? Not really, although that's a part. A twitsty tale of scandal and court intrigue? It's in there, but nah. No, what this really is is a tale of a sweet 18 year old boy who's been neglected, abused, and forgotten. It's a "what if" kind of coming of age story- what if this darling, abused little cinnamon roll unexpectedly became emperor? How EXACTLY would he navigate court politics, find his place, decide that he is a worthy human being? What would his gradual growth into a compassionate ruler look like? While it plods steadily along, it is remarkably UNboring. Overall I really enjoyed it!

CMLibrary_akeller Jan 07, 2016

I was surprised by how much I loved this book. It focuses a lot on developing the characters which made them feel real to me. The only downside was that it was hard to keep track of the names and who was who (there is a handy glossary in the back). Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, character development, and political intrigue.

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May 11, 2018

“Nothing can make death easier,” Cala said, “but silence can make it harder.”

May 11, 2018

“She would not be what she is if she had ever had something given her that was a burden equal to her strength.”

May 11, 2018

“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.”

Jul 14, 2014

We consider it cruel,' Maia said. 'And we do not think that cruelty is ever just.' ”

JCLJaredH May 28, 2014

“ 'In our inmost and secret heart, which you ask us to bare to you, we wish to banish them as we were banished, to a cold and lonely house, in the charge of a man who hated us. And we wish them trapped there as we were trapped.'

'You consider that unjust, Serenity?'

'We consider it cruel,' Maia said. 'And we do not think that cruelty is ever just.' ”


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