I’m participating in the Wyrd & Wonder readalong of The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. The readalong is hosted by Lisa from Deer Greek Place, and you can find the Goodreads discussion for the first week here. Spoilers are to be expected, of course.
1. 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?
The formality of the dialogue was unexpected and at first a bit jarring, but I do appreciate how it sets the scene. It really makes me “feel” the palace setting and also adds to my understanding of the difficulty that Maia has in adjusting to his new role as emperor because I’m adjusting along with him. The unusual names, however, are making it hard for me to keep track of different people because I’m the type of person who will just sort of skip over the name in my head if I don’t know how to pronounce it.
2. 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?
Oh, I guess I kind of answered this above. I don’t mind stories that throw you into the deep end. It adds another layer to the reading of figuring things out alongside the character which does help in connecting with the character but also just in keeping my interest. Personally, I enjoy this approach and often find that it hooks me in more because I have to be really paying attention so I don’t get even more lost.
3. 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?
This is going to be hard because I don’t remember anyone’s name. *Goes to mooch names off of the readalong discussions others have already posted.*
First off, I really love Maia’s character and the strength, ingenuity, but also humility that he’s shown. He’s been doing so well at respecting tradition while not going along with things just because that’s the way they should be. I also really appreciate that he’s willing to admit how much he doesn’t know and is working to build up some trusting relationships with a few people since he can’t do everything on his own.
I think Setheris and Chavar are going to be the most troublesome characters from what I can tell so far. Chavar is obviously out to make Maia’s life difficult and wants to retain his power. I don’t like Setheris and I think he could be trouble, but I do think he’s a good character. I’ll be interested to see how things work out between him and his wife who seems very intelligent and a bit better at showing outward respect to Maia than Setheris is. Csoru is the other obviously troublesome character, but she really doesn’t seem duplicitous enough to be a huge problem because Maia holds a lot of power over her. I could be wrong though.
I feel like I should be a lot more skeptical of Csevet than I am, but honestly I really like him. It seems like he’s is genuinely invested in helping Maia to succeed. I also like the Nohecharei, even the soldiers who seem to be very critical. Cala is my favorite, of course. I expect at least some of the Nohecharei to develop close relationship with Maia.
I’d like to see some of Maia’s extended family reconcile with him. I think I saw hints towards that in the coronation scene. We’ll have to see.
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 don’t think Chavar was involved simply because I don’t see the motivation behind it. It seems as though he held a good deal of power as the former emperor’s Lord Chancellor and doesn’t have too much to gain by killing him. Perhaps he did think that he could become emperor, but then I would have expected him to make a attempt on Maia’s life as well.
What are your other thoughts/feelings/first impressions?
This isn’t what I was expecting from the book, but I’m hooked. It was hard to stop at the end of chapter 9. Usually I say political books aren’t my thing, but I guess that’s only real life politics. (I mean, I’ve watched my share of medieval political shows, so I shouldn’t be surprised.)
I’m interested to see how Maia will get around the issue of marriage. I doubt he’ll agree to marry someone only for political reasons because that ended so badly for his mother. Maybe he’ll end up falling in love with someone?