elsane: clouds, brilliance, and the illusion of wings. (Default)
[personal profile] elsane
Back from insane amounts of travel, and I can't tell if I'm just jet lagged or if I have a cold. Properly, this means I ought to write stupid pun-laden fic, but I am feeling too guilty about my to-do list to do so, so instead I'm making extremely incremental progress and writing this.

Archive of our own has no Goblin Emperor fic, and I have already read the book through three times. (on my phone, on the road. I am forever and always grateful for ebooks.) Therefore you should all read it and discuss it with me so we can roll around in it together.

This is an obnoxious way of saying that this book is wonderful and I enjoyed it very much. The world-building is rich and layered, and the characterization is nuanced and delightful, fully inhabiting the world. The story is also deeply hopeful and compassionate, as it is in the voice of the main character, Maia, the despised and half-goblin son of the Emperor of the Elflands, unexpectedly elevated to the throne by the catastrophic death of his father and his full-elven brothers in an airship explosion. Raised in internal exile first by his mother and, after her death, by an abusive elven relation, Maia is unhappily aware of both the means by which people claim and exert power over others and the great gulf between himself and the court he inherits -- in the goblin culture his mother has taught him, and the social graces his father did not. Watching Maia build relationships, negotiate the court, and struggle not to lose himself in the process, is the story, and it's wonderful. Maia is a deeply good human being person, but always believable as a lonely eighteen year old in over his head.

This is a world that is industrializing, and the story knows about everything that comes with that: the economics, the politics, of this world, the injustices, are all there, and it feels bloodily, breathily, real. The supporting cast of characters is phenomenal, and fully reflective of the complexities of the world they live in. My single biggest complaint about this book is that there is not enough of the secondary characters; they feel so real, I want more about them.

I have been very lucky to find both this book and Martha Wells' Raksura books this year. They're very different, but they have in common beautiful prose, splendidly original world building, and fantastic characterization, and they are both about building, about hard right choices, and trust.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-30 03:25 am (UTC)
mooreeffoc: (bookshelves + flump)
From: [personal profile] mooreeffoc
Ooh, this sounds both fascinating and right up my alley. I'll have to check it out.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-30 02:12 pm (UTC)
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (Default)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Everything I hear about Goblin Emperor makes me thing that I really, really need to read it.

By the way, I have to thank you for the Raksura rec! I have devoured the first two, and devouring the third is only on pause while I write my Parallels fic and devour the Touchstone trilogy. I really, really love the Raksura world and characters and everything, oh wow.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-30 05:38 pm (UTC)
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (Default)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Well, of course!

And YES LET US although offhand I can't think of anything to discuss that's not AND I LOVE THE WORLDBUILDING AND I LOVE EVERYBODY EVEN THE BITS I AM SURPRISED TO LOVE, but possibly after the third book I'll have more? Anyway I LOVE THE WORLDBUILDING SO, and Moon is such a great POV character. And also kind of a doofus sometimes, but so is everybody onscreen (which I love!), so, yeah. (Shockingly I also love Stone and Jade. And Chime. And Balm. And... stopping before the list continues.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-08-08 04:15 pm (UTC)
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (Default)
From: [personal profile] genarti
And now I have read the third book, and return to talk more!

I think one of the things that impresses me most is that protagonists who make as many dumb decisions as Moon does tend to frustrate me fast, and yet I love Moon to bits, because his morals are in the right place and it's SO HORRIBLY CLEAR exactly why he consistently makes the kinds of dumb decisions he makes. So I just want to give him a hug and slap him upside the head -- which is basically what Stone is there to do, so maybe that's another helpful point. (But I do appreciate how Moon getting consistently called on it when his trauma's getting in the way of things doesn't mean he's instantly magically over that trauma which, indeed, continues to get in the way of things.)

Also Delin is fantastic. <3333 Delin.

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