Jul. 29th, 2014

elsane: clouds, brilliance, and the illusion of wings. (Default)
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.

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elsane: clouds, brilliance, and the illusion of wings. (Default)
elsane

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