Review: The Goblin Emperor

Author: Katherine Addison

Did you know there is a genre called “Fantasy of manners”? I sure did not before reading this book. And you know what? I’m okay with it. The genre uses a typical fantasy setting, but is centered around high society and social conflict. And that sure describes the Goblin Emperor to a t. There were maybe two action scenes in this entire book, and I think the narrator fainted during one of them. I’m not even clear if there was any in the world. One of the main conflicts in the book is getting a legal body to vote on building a bridge. Not passing the vote mind you, just getting them to vote on it at all.

The book works, if that’s what you’re into. The protagonist meets with advisors, talks to ambassadors and does the usual emperor stuff. Not a lot happens, and I’m not sure if that’s necessarily bad. The pacing of the story was relaxed and stately, just like the contents. I do think it could have been better. The world feels kind of static, like everything is waiting on the protagonist, and the supporting characters were rather flat. Still, it was written well enough that I made it all the way through, so I can’t fault it too much. I don’t know if I’d necessarily recommend it, but it did make me curious about what more the genre holds.

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