Very rarely an utterly special book comes to my attention. A book one thinks about for days, weeks, after the final page is turned. A delight. To become a part of one’s history when read.
This book, “The Goblin Emperor” is such a book.
And that’s not to say it’s an easy read, either. This is not a ‘casual’ Sunday read one does in the garden while sipping lemonade. No. This book needs, nay, demands thought and attention; as though it may seem simple on the outset with plot and court intricacies, it is far from it. There are always deeper thoughts behind what is written. I loved that.
The main character, Maia, a half-goblin (and not how you imagine goblins to be; there are no Tolkien or Harry Potter stereotypes here. I imagined these goblins like cats, their ears turning to reflect their emotions, twitching and lowering. Quite lovely) and sudden heir, is the shining light throughout this whole book. He goes from being a timid eighteen year old, to a man who realises when he pushes back, things happen. And yes, the gradual, slow build up does indeed have things happen.
The book is beautifully written, the language appropriate with its court intrigue and use of pronouns. Stunning really. It’s not like any other modern fantasy I’ve read, and bloody hell, that’s a good thing. It’s filled with light, wonder, and the wanting to be good, do good, for all.
The only minor issue I had, was at one point when Maia discovered a male member of his court loved another man, replying to him about his ‘unnatural love’. I became slightly miffed at that, and was the only stain on an otherwise flawless canvas. The rest of the book champions equality for the poor, women, people of colour, and fairness for all. So yes, to me that sentiment, even if Maia’s thoughts, seemed out of place for this story. Thankfully, it was more said out of innocence not malice, as Maia is by no means malicious in any way.
And yes, you will need the list of characters at the end of the book to keep up sometimes. There are many, many, many characters crammed into the 500 pages. I think more than 30 at a good guess. Some of whom had very similarly spelled names.
To put it plainly, I simply loved this book, and it will definitely go into the re-read pile, to be cherished and loved as Maia cherished and loved his subjects.