The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 1 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the first week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  There’s still plenty of time to jump in with this if you’ve been longing to read this book and want to jump aboard, or feel free to join in the discussion in the comments.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a and don’t spare the horses:

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?

I do enjoy it.  It makes me feel transported to a different time and place and although sometimes such techniques can slow the pace down at the beginning, while you come to grips with things, I’m not finding that to be the case here.  Although, I’m fairly certain I’m probably mispronouncing all the names in my head when I’m reading. Strangely enough, I thought I’d bought this on audio, which is great for helping you to figure out place and people names, but when I came to look at it that wasn’t the case – I’ve bought for kindle.  My memory is clearly a leaky cauldron.

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?

I really like that the story gets off to a running start.  There is literally no period of holding hands, we’re thrown straight in along with Maia and in fact that seems to be another cunning plan by the author, that we’re picking everything up at the same time as he does.  The writing really helps with this though and I have to salute Addison because she is incredibly capable (so far at least) in providing backstory in a quick and none-info-dump fashion.  I’m really enjoying the voyage of discovery that Maia’s path has taken and it’s a really subtle way of introducing characters, politics and history without actually turning into a tedious lesson. I think I’m going to really like Maia too. Already, and in spite of never having aspirations or expectations of becoming Emperor, he is putting his own stamp on things – in a refreshingly ‘human’ and sympathetic way.  Very well demonstrated, for example, by his simple desire to change to a different Emperor name that isn’t synonymous with harsh rule.

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?

Now, this question is where my lack of note taking so far d is proving to be a big mistake!  Anyway, I’ve gone back to check the names of some of the people who stand out so far, and these are in order of introduction and I haven’t included everyone.

Maia.  In a court of elves the half goblin child of the Emperor is definitely not the favoured child.  It seems that the Emperor never favoured the marriage with Maia’s mother and exiled him as soon as possible.  Maia has been taught some court etiquette by his cousin but to be clear he was never expected to be Emperor and he is ill prepared for the role in many respects.  But, Maia shows a real strength of character so far.  He has taken up the role as best he can and is in fact putting his own stamp on things, not least of all making it clear that he won’t be a puppet for someone else to rule through.  I love his ‘innocence’ – possibly not the best description but it kind of fits – and the way he takes enjoyment from simple things – and then feels guilty about it.

Setheris – Maia’s cousin.  Let’s just say I’m not loving him so far, but it is early days so perhaps he will redeem himself.  It seems that when Maia was exiled to Edonomee his cousin Setheris was sent with him and the relationship between the two was not exactly pleasant.  This could be seen as slightly at odds with Setheris giving Maia advice on what to do first, after discovering that he was to become Emperor following the tragedy that killed his father and brothers – that could be seen as good advice that he didn’t have to offer but, it could also be twisted into something more self serving which only time will tell.  If Maia is to become Emperor, Setheris may be thinking of how this rise in status can benefit himself?

Chavar, Lord Chancellor of Maia’s father.  We hear a lot about him before making his acquaintance and none of it seems favourable.  Clearly he’s an ambitious character and being LC to the previous Emperor you can only assume that he shares the dislike and prejudice towards Maia that Maia’s own father demonstrated.  Of course, he’s not a foolish man and he’s not going to throw himself under the bus so it will be interesting to see how his character develops.  I’m not inclined to like him so far, he’s too keen on power by the sound of things but, again, time will tell.

Csevet – one of the first people who Maia meets upon arrival at court.  He seems very helpful and keen to please and soon becomes quite necessary in organising the household and also imparting information to Maia.  I like Csevet, he seems to be young and energetic and keen to please – I hope he’s not a spy in the camp.

Hesero – Setheris’s wife.  She’s only appeared once in the story so far but what was abundantly clear was that Setheris seemed determined and maybe even anxious for her to meet Maia.  I think she’s going to be an interesting character to keep an eye on and Setheris is clearly eager to inveigle her into court.  Plus, her first meeting with Maia was very interesting.  He was totally gobsmacked wasn’t he!  She seems to have some sort of power over him – like she’s charmed him or something.  She is clever and the phrase ‘behind every successful man is a woman’ springs to mind.  She seems to be the brains of the marriage.

The Nohecharei – two protectors of the Emperor who are never far from his side. Beshelar – a soldier and Cala, I’m not quite sure how to describe Cala – a wise man maybe?  Anyway, I like this pairing and think they are going to be really good additions to the story.  The disapproving, ramrod straight soldier with his disapproval and the slightly shambolic and always late and shabbily attired wiseman who comes across as caring and thoughtful – both clearly disapproving of the other.

Csoru – the widow empress.  Desperately seeking power.  Sensible enough to know when to back down but the last chapter raised a very interesting point about a person at court known as a Witness for the Dead who seems to be here with her approval.

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?

Well, he’s the immediate and obvious person to look at.  He seemed very keen to keep Maia at bay and keep power for himself.  Of course he could simply be looking out for the empire, trying to protect trade deals and tentative relationships and not expecting a teenage boy with little knowledge of such to be able to do so.  But, he comes across as very pushy and a little unlikable.  Plus, he’s very keen to become involved in the investigation.  Of course, you could argue that if he had anything to do with the incident he didn’t handle it as well as he could have by leaving things up in the air that could spoil everything – Maia in particular.  I’m still inclined to suspect him even though he is the most obvious choice.  The widow empress it seems was also desperate for power and I think she’s a lot smarter than her ‘doll like’ appearance would suggest.  Basically I’m going to suspect everyone possible and change my mind with furious rapidity.

What are your other thoughts/feelings/first impressions?

So far so good.  I think.  There’s a lot to consider here.  Political machinations, murder investigations, a potential marriage and lots of positioning by the people at court.  I like the main character and think he’s going to be somebody I can really get on board with.  It will be very interesting to see how the other characters pan out and discover if there are any snakes in the grass.  This is going to be my type of read with subtlety and intrigue aplenty.  Finally – ‘Moon-witted hobgoblin’ – I’m going to keep that one.

W&W

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

18 Responses to “The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 1 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor”

  1. Tammy

    I wish I was doing this read along, but I bit off more than I can chew anyway as far as books go. Glad you’re enjoying it so far😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and I find a readalong is a lot of fun and encouragement at the same time.
      Lynn 😀

  2. bkfrgr

    I am loving this book so far too. On the one hand I feel we can trust no-one and I’m looking for hidden agendas, and on the other, I’ve already got favourites and am making excuses for them. Argh!! 😆

    • @lynnsbooks

      And, isn’t that what makes it so good. I’m jumping round like a cat on a hot tin roof suspecting everyone, liking some, disliking others, arghh, very much arghh
      Lynn 😀

  3. Zezee

    I’m enjoying it too and share your suspicions of Setheris that he’ll want to elevate his status since Maia is now emperor. I’m wary of Chavar and I also hope Csevet isn’t a spy because he’s so helpful so far and Maia needs people he can trust. Still, I do wonder if Csevet has any hidden intentions.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I have my suspicions about people. So, I dislike Chavar and like Csevet but then I recall something earlier on, a discussion about Csevet being allocated to Maia by Chavar, I can’t remember the phrasing but it was basically saying he’d assigned him to the post. It might be nothing, or it could be something? I just hope Csevet isn’t there as a spy for Chavar.
      Lynn 😀

      • Zezee

        Yep, Chavar did assign him to Maia. I hope the because he’s so helpful to Maia now.

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Nice, I didn’t even know about this readalong! I’ve read this one though, and I don’t have time to do a reread with all the other books on my pile, but I hope you guys enjoy!

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  6. imyril

    It’s lovely having a big read-along for this – I’m really enjoying seeing everyone’s responses (I seem to be the only re-reader, so I’m trying to be careful what I say, although luckily I genuinely don’t remember much detail as I inhaled this during a 24 hour readathon the first time, so not a lot stuck 😉

    …and yes, Hesero really is far too clever for Setheris (asshat) isn’t she? So glamorous, so self-assured – she gives off real femme fatale vibes.

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  8. waytoofantasy

    Hahah, Lynn, I feel like you listed every character as troublesome 😉
    Glad you’re enjoying this one!

  9. sjhigbee

    Glad you’re enjoying the readalong so much, Lynn. I didn’t get myself organised anything like enough to jump in on this one – perhaps another year!

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