The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 3 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the third week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  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.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

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:

These chapters open with a very candid, yet significantly warmer than most, conversation between Maia and Arbelan, and from there things begin to change as Maia learns to act with more confidence. Do you think Arbelan’s kinder treatment of him is what sparks this, and if so, how much of an impact do you think it had?

I enjoyed the chapters where Maia seems to be gradually becoming more confident and in particular his discussions with Arbelan and Idra.  What really comes across with all the interactions is how stiffly everyone seems to be at first (or at least almost everyone).  Everyone has a court ‘face’ and I can’t help thinking I would be so miserable in such a place, never knowing what people are really thinking, all the scheming behind the scenes.  Well, we know it’s a lonely existence so frankly whenever Maia tries to hold out an olive branch, and it’s well received, it’s a good moment.  Plus these new ‘friends’ are helping him to learn so much and are showing him that not everyone favoured the last emperor.

The river bridge scheme proves to be a delightful plot point to push a lot of character interaction forward, as well as opening up the scope of this world. Were you surprised by the developments involving Lord Pashavar?

I like the bridge storyline to be honest, it’s interesting and helps to show the split in Maia’s court.  Lord Pashavar being a fine example.  Maia seems to like Pashavar or more to the point respect him maybe?  The dinner and discussion they shared was quite revealing.  Again, it drove home the fact that not every action of the previous Emperor was thought well of.  He was stubborn and his advisors didn’t necessarily always agree with him. It was really interesting to find out a little bit more about the history of the place and it was also a little revealing in terms of Pashavar – who I don’t dislike, but feel he’s maybe very set in his ways and not very receptive to change, although maybe he can be persuaded by reasonable arguments?  Time will tell – of course the part of my brain that screams ‘trust nobody’ can’t help reading dark thoughts into why Pashavar is so set against the bridge scheme.

Like a train gathering steam, a great deal of plot drama happens here. Let’s talk about Shevean and Chavar. Were you surprised by their gambit? And how do you feel about the way it all played out (ie. Idra’s decision to put his foot down)?

This bit actually really surprised me tbh.  I guess it shouldn’t have, it was obvious that things were building up and would eventually just pop from the tension but I have to say I was really shocked at how quickly things happened and how quickly they were resolved.  I thought Chavar would have been a bit more cunning or thorough with his plotting.  I’m relieved he and Shevean have eventually shown their true colours although I can’t help thinking that this can’t be the end of the threat to Maia. It simply doesn’t feel ‘cunning’ enough.

We get another surprising turnaround from Ceredin, Maia’s intended empress-to-be, as well. What are your thoughts on her by the end of these chapters, compared to her initial impression?

I liked that she showed a little more of her own personality, I think I could like her very much.  Yes, this is an arranged marriage and she is carrying out her duty but I have hope for her and Maia.

The story, and perhaps the danger, is not quite over yet … any thoughts on what might be in store in the final chapters?

Well, there still feels to be quite a lot hanging in the balance.  Things are moving forward but there is a definite feeling of danger lurking.  One thing that struck me was Mer Celhar’s sudden disappearance.  He could have made an interesting discovery in his investigations or he could have been taken out of the picture because he’s getting too close to the truth?  I’m inclined to think the first explanation is the more likely and he’s rushed off to find something out or uncover some truths.  This also leads me to wondering who could have been involved in the explosion.  Is Chavar now out of that scenario or was this scheme just another part of the plan (a plan B) to put in place a young emperor who could be managed easily?  And there has been, suspiciously, no mention of Chavar’s son since the abdication attempt.  It concerns me.

 

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 2 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the second 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.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

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:

So many verbal encounters. So much political muck! Let’s start with Princess Sheveän, who seemed so very outraged at the idea of the late emperor’s body being ‘desecrated’. Do you buy that as her reasoning? Or do you think she was making a scene for another reason?

I don’t really understand what that was all about tbh. I mean she seemed absolutely furious didn’t she?  Perhaps she’s hiding something or maybe she just really doesn’t like Maia and is all too eager to pounce on anything he does and find fault with it. At this point – I suspect everyone (almost).

Cala and Vedero both have some hard but pragmatic advice for Maia here: Cala’s concern is for the emperor being seen to be weak for treating his nohecharei as equals when their job is to protect him; and Vedero’s situation is different but her concern is basically the same as Cala’s. She seems alarmed at the idea that Maia might go against society and tradition by refusing to bargain for a marriage for her. How do you feel about these scenes, and the conversations between them? Are they being too harsh and/or cynical, or is Maia simply being too naive?

I think that the scene with Cala giving Maia advice was very touching.  I felt so sorry for Maia because he does seem to have latched onto the two as friends and so with that in mind I think the advice was good – particularly if he wants to keep the two of them close.  I think if he makes his feelings towards them too obvious in public then somebody will find a way of replacing them by saying they’re not doing their job properly.  And then he could be left with two people with a very different agenda. The same with Vedero – I think she was genuinely trying to give good advice to Maia, even if it isn’t advice that she likes herself.  Maia is being naive but that’s understandable given he hasn’t been brought up in court or with expectations of ever being there and so it’s good that he has some people around him to give advice.  But, I like that he still makes his own decisions, the case with Vedero being a perfect example.

Setheris attempts to come at Maia from his more abusive position, clearly intending to railroad his cousin into giving him a position at court he feels is worthy of him. Yet Maia sticks to his intention of sending Setheris somewhere he will not have so much easy access to the new emperor. Do you think, with that, that Setheris’s days of troubling Maia are over?

It’s interesting because Setheris has tried his bullying tactics now and they haven’t worked, so he’s seeing that Maia can and will stand up to him.  I don’t think he will be happy though and I definitely don’t think that’s going to be the last we hear from him.  Perhaps he will try something more subtle.  Maybe he’ll pull Hesero out of his bag of tricks and see if she can work her magic on Maia.

A discovery is made that the sabotage of the Wisdom of Choharo may have been caused by the Cetho Workers League – a “dissident group”. Do you think this will lead to a resolution of the investigation, or did the plot just thicken?

I think the plot did just thicken.  Clearly there are unhappy people in the empire and I’m sure that’s going to be due to a catalogue of unfair treatment from the previous Emperor.  I don’t think the Workers League will be responsible for the crash but I do think that someone will try to use them as a very convenient scapegoat.  It’s just too easy to pin this on a bunch of unhappy people and point the finger, plus it skirts round the issue of what they’re unhappy with and removes them from the picture.  Maia will probably be interested in hearing what others have to say and making change for the better so if the crash can be pinned on them it removes any justified complaints they might have.

Maia’s grandfather is coming to court for Winternight, though this seems to please Maia far more than it pleases Chavar … What do you make of Chavar’s open disagreeableness during the dinner at the ambassador’s home? Is it plain arrogance (albeit the racist kind), or do you think his disapproval of goblin folk runs deeper than that?

Well, I think there is a lot of racism at this court – and it’s not particularly well hidden, but with a new Emperor, and one that is half Goblin, people will have to be more careful.  Hopefully, Maia’s kindness will help people to see things in a new light – but such changes don’t usually happen overnight.  I imagine that Chavar’s open opposition to all of this runs slightly deeper.  He’s probably worried that the goblins will now use the opportunity of Maia being Emperor to their own benefit.  Or perhaps he’s worried that Maia will have more of an ear to what the goblins have to say?  It’s also another potential ally for Maia.  I’m really looking forward to the visit though, for Maia’s sake and also to learn more about his family.

 

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

‘Beam me up Scotty’: Sci Fi Month 2016 #RRSciFiMonth

sandman
That’s it folks.  Sci fi month 2016 ends today – and what a great month it’s been.  I’ve had a great time and I hope you all have too!  I was determined to write, post and watch lots of sci-fi (well, lots in terms of my own normal posting) and I managed to do so so I’m all coloured happy. I watched a few films, particularly enjoyed Jurassic Park.  Read and reviewed three books and managed to highlight 4 sci fi books that I’m looking forward to as part of my Waiting on Wednesday posts.

I have to give a great big hand of applause to Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow for doing such a stella job of hosting and I have to say that I hope they do so again next year as I’m actually going to formulate plans next time around!  That’s right – there are actually going to be PLANS (although in fairness, I probably said that same thing last year – however, this time there really are going to be plans)!!

So, as one door closes, another usually opens.  We currently have a readalong about to start for Becky Chambers A Closed and Common Orbit – starting literally in the next couple of days but if you’re interested in joining in you could easily catch up as it’s a nice gentle pace (and when I say catch up I mean jump on board because we’ve not started yet – details here).  Also, in the New Year, the Little Red Reviewer will be hosting her annual Vintage Sci Fi month – so dig out your old vintage sci fi books, films, covers, tv – whatever, and join in.  Lots to still look forward to people.

Finally, just in case you needed a little pick me up – here – just for you:

Live long and prosper 😀

scifimonth2016

Read All About It…

Just a quick post to notify you of a readalong of One Salt Sea (October Daye #5).  Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.  The details are over on Goodreads – the schedule is below. This series got off to a great start with Rosemary and Rue, got even better with A Local Habitation and then reached what I thought was an all time high with An Artificial Night  but book No.4, Late Eclipses, topped it, packed with emotions and revelations.  So, we’re moving onto No.5 which I’m really excited about.  Everyone welcome to join.  If you want to jump on board then leave a comment, visit Lisa or check out the Goodreads page.  Come join in the fun.

Week 1: Saturday 3rd September, Chapters 1-9, hosted at Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 10th September, Chapters 10-18, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 3: Saturday 17th September, Chapters 19-29, hosted at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Saturday 24th September, Chapters 30-End, hosted at On Starships and Dragonwings

And now for a little bit about the book:

 

10783217October “Toby” Daye is finally doing all right—and that inevitably means it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse. Someone has kidnapped the sons of the Duchess Dianda Lorden, regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must not only find the missing boys, but also prove that the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. She’ll need all her tricks and the help of her allies if she wants to make it through this in one piece.

Toby’s search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves. But someone is determined to stop her—and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws. As the battle grows more and more personal, one thing is chillingly clear. When Faerie goes to war, not everyone will walk away. One Salt Sea is the fifth installment of the highly praised Toby Dayeseries.

 

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