Audiobook Review The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1) by Katherine Addison

Posted July 12, 2021 by jrsbookr in Audibook Review / 0 Comments

by Katherine Addison
Audiobook Review The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1) by Katherine AddisonThe Goblin Emperor Length: 16
Narrator: Kyle McCarley
Published by Tom Doherty Associates on March 3, 2015
Source: Library Auidobook
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure, Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Pages: 512
Format: Audiobook
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A vividly imagined debut fantasy of court intrigue in a steampunk-inflected magical world from Katherine Addison.

Unbound Worlds 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three older sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place on the Untheileneise Throne.

The Goblin Emperor, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.


The Goblin Emperor is a standalone fantasy novel of over four hundred pages. It’s a deep dive into court life with its intrigues, customs, and courtiers who range between sycophant and deadly foe. The story explores the themes of trust (in yourself and others) and the nature of friendship when most are unlikely to refuse you or disagree with you.
Maia’s goblin mother is the emperor’s fourth wife, and he’s the result of a political, one-time consummation and loveless marriage. At the age of ten, his mother dies, and Maia is sent to live with his cousin, Setheris, a former adviser who’s arrogance gets him banished from court. No love is lost between the cousins. While the bitter Setheris provides Maia with some tutoring, he’s most physically and emotionally abusive towards the boy.
So, is it a damaged young man who takes the throne? No. Maia’s mother provided him with a solid moral compass. And Setheris’s behavior has left Maia empathetic towards the oppressed. As he learns about the father he’d met just once at his mother’s funeral, Maia chose not to emulate his predecessor. It’s watching how Maia adjusts to rulership while learning as much about himself as those he rules that makes The Goblin Emperor such a riveting read.
Be warned because there’s hardly any action in this book, and the worldbuilding is limited to the palace. I found a glossary at the front of my e-book, which most readers will find invaluable because of the Elven language used for names, titles, and places. Unable to flick back and forth through electronic pages, glossaries and e-books just don’t work for me. I found myself resorting to memorizing the shape of an unpronounceable word to recognize which character or location I was reading about. This did spoil the reading experience a little.
The story’s plot is three-pronged: who can Maia trust, how should he assert his authority, and what happened to his father and half-brothers? The solution to the third subplot is convoluted but clever.
I enjoyed The Goblin Emperor. What this book lacks in action is made up for by its great protagonist, who held my interest from beginning to end.