Welcome to the final week of the Wyrd & Wonder readalong of The Goblin Emperor by hosted by Lisa from Deer Greek Place. This post also serves as a brief review of the book overall. Spoilers will be included.
Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?
I like Avar. He was willing to own up to his mistakes and also showed Maia some important things about being an emperor, such as the importance of taking time to yourself. He and Maia didn’t develop the closest relationship, but I think that’s realistic.
Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?
This is another one of those things that I can’t say I was expecting but also wasn’t really surprised by. In retrospect, he definitely didn’t hide his hatred and probably should have been one of my biggest suspects. I think this played out well, and I liked the nuance that was introduced; they assassinated Maia’s father because he had too much power that wasn’t being used in a productive manner. While this does not justify the assassination, they did in many ways accomplish their goal of placing that power into better hands, as Shulivar points out to Maia.
For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?
I can’t think of any of Maia’s actions that I was really unsatisfied with. The only thing I would like to know more about is what will happen with that ongoing war between the Ethuveraz and the Nazhmorhathveras.
Maia may have been a bit too kind in letting Shevean and Chavar live. The explanation for this was that they “sincerely believed that what they did was for the good of the Ethuveraz,” but I don’t really see how this makes their actions any different than those of Tethimel and his associates. (Perhaps Tethimel was driven by pure hatred, but those who helped him did believe they were doing what was best.) Still, I think it’s in Maia’s nature to be merciful, and the exiles of Shevean and Chavar will serve as punishment enough for them.
And as always, feel free to add any other thoughts/feelings on the book in general, now that it’s over!
This book was a lovely read, and one that I think I’ll probably reread when I’m in the mood for a comfort read (this time hopefully with a physical edition that I can annotate). I think I was expecting some more surprising reveals when it comes to who was against Maia (as in, someone was pretending to support him but actually hated him), but the lack of this kind of betrayal (aside from Dazhis) is part of what makes this a comfort read.
Looking back at my predictions last week for the final chapters of the book, I did pretty well overall. First, I said “Maia has very little opposition left within the court” and thus we would now “be more focused on relationships with other countries and taking care of things in further reaches of his realm.” This was partially true I guess. He still had opposition (in the form of another assassination attempt), but it did seem to originate from outside of the court. I also stated my hope “that Maia’s grandfather will be an ally.” which happily was the case.
There’s two more seemingly smaller things that I mentioned towards the end of last week’s post that I was so glad to see being addressed in the last couple of chapters. These are Maia’s decision that he can indeed be friends with his nohecharei and his reconciliation with finding a way to practice his faith at court.
And that’s it! I loved this book, though I’m going to have to give it 4.5 stars simply because of how confused I was most of the time at who was who. This is partially my own fault, but it still significantly lessened my enjoyment of and immersion in the story.
Thank you so much to Lisa for running this readalong and to all of the other participants! I had a great time reading other people’s opinions and seeing how their experience of the novel compared to my own.