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 18 through 26
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 think that Maia’s been craving a supportive older figure in his life since he lost his mother. Since there are some similarities between the treatment of Arbelan Drazharan and Maia’s own mother, I think he feels a connection and perhaps safety there that makes him more willing to push himself.
Her comments about how she would have welcomed a daughter seems to kindle thoughts already within Maia both about loving your children for whoever they are (and him moving on from his father’s rejection) and the idea that women in the Court should have more opportunities.
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 really like seeing Maia getting to know his government a little more as rounded characters rather than simply allies or obstacles. It gives me hope that some day he’ll have the sort of friendships he so desperately wants within his court.
I found the arguments against the bridge entertaining (it can’t be done because it’s impossible so we shouldn’t consider how it could be done) but I also really like that we see Maia put his foot down, take control as Emperor and accept the fact that he won’t always be able to please everyone. Maia really wants other people to be happy, but if he’s going to survive he has to learn when he can make allowances and when not to.
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)?
Oft! This is one of the really great moments in this book. When Maia was taken I wasn’t entirely sure who the culprits would be. The Court is so fickle I wasn’t ruling anyone out, but, one it was revealed, it fit perfectly and really couldn’t have been anyone else.
I was a little surprised at Idra’s reaction, just because we’re so used to seeing everyone in fantasy novels aiming for the throne it was a surprise to see it so unerring and quickly turned down. Both Maia’s logic (regency’s rarely ending well) and Idra’s (why would he know so much better than Maia) made perfect sense though. To be honest, I’ve always thought I’d be happier as a privileged noble than being made the target that the step up to ruler creates. I found it really sweet that Idra stands by his principles to defend Maia, even when his mother tries to guilt him with the consequences.
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 really like Ceredin so it’s hard to remember what I thought of her originally, but I think I was unimpressed at first. I really like that she’s got these little hints of a more interesting personality coming through, and that she’s trying to open up a more casual, honesty relationship with Maia.
The story, and perhaps the danger, is not quite over yet … any thoughts on what might be in store in the final chapters?
I’m going to plead both reread and poor memory on this one!