As part of the Wyrd and Wonder reading month, Lisa is running a readalong for The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Since it’s one of my favourite books, I’ve been wanting to reread it for a while and this is the perfect opportunity. Each week Lisa will be posing questions regarding the chapters we’ve read and I’m going to (try to) post my responses.
SPOILER NOTE: This is a reread for me so while there are definitely spoilers for the weeks chapters, there might also be some for the rest of the book too.
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)
Questions for Chapters 1 through 9
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 definitely noticed the formality of the language — and the thees and thous — as well as Maia adapting to using the royal ‘we’. I quite like it though, I feel like it fits the style of the story.
Maia’s just been tossed head first into a world that’s almost entirely new to him. It’s familiar in some ways, but also very different to the life he’s always known. Giving reader a taste of that, by having the written feel just every so slightly out of step, really conveys Maia’s discomfort and out-of-place-ness.
It also fits with the world-building. The Court is so caught up in rules and traditions, and everything has a prescribed way of being done. You get a real sens of the archaic nature of the Court (which we’re rooting for Maia to adapt to and overcome) through the dated way the characters talk.
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?
Again, I thought the style of writing (tossing us right into the action) echos Maia’s experience nicely. I’m not sure you’d appreciate his confusion and how dangerous his lack on political acumen is going to be if we were equally as thrown in the deep end. You don’t know who’s behaving as they should be and who shouldn’t be trusted.
That said, this is my third time reading this book. The first time I didn’t get so far as Maia leaving Edonomee. The second time I flew through it. This was a book I had to focus on and too be in the right mood to appreciate. The complexity and confusion was definitely a part of that.
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?
I love Csevet!
I also really liked a couple of the ‘extras’ Maia means who seem pretty kind hearted: like the gardener who explains the goblin knots or the prelate at the funeral. It’s nice to see that not EVERYONE is playing the political game. It just sucks for Maia that those are the people he’ll see the most.
When I first read it, I thought Setheris would play a much larger part on the whole. I suspected he might in some way — either intentionally or through manipulation — be a tool for Maia’s downfall.
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?
Again, talking about when I first read it, I don’t think I was sure? I suspected he couldn’t be trusted, but I wasn’t sure if I thought he has been involved in the assassination or was just utterly opportunistic.
What are your other thoughts/feelings/first impressions?
I adore Maia. He’s the most precious character in the world. I love seeing him desperately trying not to mis-step and that, even this early on, he knows how little he knows? I like that he asks for help where and when he can, and that he’s obviously trying to do the best he can with the limited information he has available to him.
I love that while he might WANT to trust people, he’s not foolish enough to do it.
I did think his realisation about his lack of privacy and what his future holds for him in terms of responsibilities and freedoms was a little heart-breaking.