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Publisher's Summary

The Goblin Emperor is a vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent, Katherine Addison.

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 sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident", he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend...and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne - or his life.

Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor is an exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books

©2022 Katherine Addison (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“Challenging, invigorating, and unique. If courtly intrigue is your wine of choice, The Goblin Emperor is the headiest vintage I've come across in years.” (Scott Lynch, best-selling author of The Lies of Locke Lamora)

“I enjoyed The Goblin Emperor a great deal. I was sucked right into her world of goblins, elves, and airships, and was anxious to the very end to find out how Maia, the unwanted halfblood son of the Emperor, who finds himself unexpectedly on the throne, learns to navigate the intrigues and danger of the imperial court. An engrossing read!” (Kristen Britain, New York Times best-selling author of Blackveil)

What listeners say about The Goblin Emperor

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  • Overall
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Give this book a chance!

The language took some getting used to and the story was confusing at times, but it had me completely engaged. I found the protagonist arc to be believable; he wasn’t a superhero and was a deeply flawed young man who struggles to overcome a traumatic past. I was totally cheering for him by the third chapter. You know what the protagonist knows so some of the other main characters won’t seem as developed, but it makes sense because the protagonist has difficulty making inroads in an unfamiliar world. Overall, it’s a great story, it keeps you guessing at times, and has a couple of nice surprises.

Kyle McCarley is one of my favorite narrators and always does a really nice job of bringing the story to life.

15 people found this helpful

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Goes no where.

Although the story is mildly interesting, nothing really develops of any interest. Rather disappointing overall.

8 people found this helpful

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Genuinely my favorite book

This book is like a warm hug, we find it a comfort to re-listen when life is difficult.

7 people found this helpful

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Overwhelming

I feel like I have read a Russian novel- only slightly happier and with Elves and Goblins. Seriously, the NAMES! I stand in awe of the reader for a flawless performance and natural pronunciation of all the names-as well as amazing use of accents! This was fantastic.

7 people found this helpful

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Complicated but rewarding.

I enjoyed this book. The MC is likable and just trying to do the right thing in a very unexpected situation. However, if you are confused by multiple characters with strange/foreign/made up sounding names, this might be a challenge. Often times, I had no idea what character was being referenced and had to rely on context clues or the narrators voice (a note on that later). Add to that a more than generous dash of made up words for places, things, and endless political factions and families, and things can get incredibly confusing. There was one moment in the story that was supposed to be a shocking character reveal to which I flatly have no clue who it was because of the endless string of incomprehensible names. I finished the book and I still do t know who the character is/was.
The reader had a great range of voices, but tended towards some - ehh not great choices. The goblins were given eastern accents when portrayed as barbaric or (randomly) one Russian accent. One male servant who dresses the MC and does his hair is given a lisp, but was never suggested by the text itself. Otherwise, it was a pleasant listen.
The story itself was fine, if not a little tired and problematic. Elves are white, pretty, white, sophisticated and white. Goblins are black, foreign, black, disregarded, and black. If this were social commentary I might have let it pass, but it’s not. The insistence and attention to the skin of black, white, and gray skinned half blooded characters is a little itchy. Further, there are no humans or other races involved, making me feel like the distinction between “elvish” and goblin kind was kind of a useless trope of fantasy.
The magic was incredibly light, only used twice and likewise mentioned a handful of other times. It was actually refreshing for it to be so scant and not an answer to all the problems.
You could say this book was bad for all these reasons, but despite that, it was still a compelling and fun listen. I enjoyed the characters, even if I could distinguish only one name from the rest. I enjoyed the setting and political climate. There were moments of touching pathos and intrigue that kept me listening from start to finish in under two days. Give it a listen if you have a free spare credit.

5 people found this helpful

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One of the most elegantly told stories I have read

While there may not be any action in the book, Katherine does an absolutely amazing job and pulling you into the story and making you care almost immediately for her characters. the story never over reaches and Katherine was obviously very aware of the story she was trying to tell. The voice of The story is so smooth, with prose to be inspired by. And the fact that it is a one off somehow just made this story so refreshing. I fully recommend to any fantasy fan who is looking for something new!

5 people found this helpful

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This book is extremely sensitive

While the fantasy words might be a bit confusing for some, I felt it easy to follow. This book is really sensitive and quiet. I loved listening to it.

4 people found this helpful

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Slow and wordy.

The story moved slowly and was buried in efforts to create a culture and language that doesn't translate well to an audiobook, because you can't easily check back to try and figure out what each word means. Maybe read this one instead.

4 people found this helpful

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Why did I waste my time?

Honestly, it was just really boring. Nothing happened. The names were too complicated and everyone had such small parts that it made it difficult to keep track of who anyone was. It had promise so I kept listening and hoping that literally anything exciting would happen but it went nowhere. I’m annoyed.

2 people found this helpful

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two thumbs up

Great reader for a well written political tale. if you're a fan of fantasy and steampunk this is a must listen!

2 people found this helpful