NOT A REVIEW: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

December 12, 2014
NOT A REVIEW: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine AddisonThe Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Narrator: Kyle McCarley
Published by Macmillan on April 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Length: 16 hours 25 minutes
Format: Audiobook

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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.

This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

I almost made it through this book. Almost. I got to about the 80% mark, so close it seemed a waste to not finish as I hate marking the review as DNF. But, I just couldn’t do it. I’ve been in a reading slump and found my lack of excitement for this book was not helping me. I also knew if I set it aside I would never come back to it. So there it is. I decided to move on.

Before I go further, I want to add that I felt a stronger obligation to continue with this book because pretty much every blogger (and some non-bloggers) I know had really positive things to say about it. I think everyone gave this either 4 or 5 stars. That’s a solid indication this book is worth reading. So, now how to sum up my reaction to the book? This is the hard part, because if I didn’t think the book had any merit, it’s unlikely that I would have read as much as I did and coming here and sharing all the things that made me stop reading would be much easier. The premise is interesting.The protagonist, Maia, is nice enough. There are some interesting political strifes and racial divides, and of course, intrigue behind the murder of an emperor and his heirs (setting up a most unexpected and unprepared character to take the throne). But ultimately, I just was not that excited. I think there was too much page space about etiquette, proper clothes, proper Empress, etc. etc. I’m sitting here trying to find a nice way to say I found it boring. I can’t.

In short, 80% of the way through the book I decided to set it aside because I was bored. I’ve also been in a bit of a reading slump, so when I read a book I’m not thrilled about when I’m in a slump, I’m not sure if I didn’t like it because I was in a slump or if I’m in a slump because I’m trying to force myself to finish a book I found boring. Either way, I’ve decided there is no way for this book to come back and win me over. And I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out in whatever happens in the last 20%. And since misery loves company, I read this as part of an online group read/discussion. I took some solace that there were other readers of this book that felt exactly like I did. I think its a hit or miss book because while all of my blogger friends enjoyed this one, I was certainly not alone in the discussion in feeling bored.

I’m happy for those that enjoyed this, unfortunately, I can’t add my voice to the buzz. Ah well …. onwards to the TBR pile!



  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) December 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    *slowly shakes head back and forth, turns and walks away*

    naw I just playing, I have had books fall short in reading slumps too.

  • Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy December 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I haven’t read this, but I heard other bloggers use the “B” word too, so you’re not alone. It’s really hard for me to DNF a book too, but life’s too short, right? Hope your next one is lots better!
    Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted…It’s All About the Characters: BROKEN MONSTERS by Lauren Beukes – ReviewMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) December 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I just finished The Shining Girls, which was WAY better for me!! And while I always feel bad for books that get called the ‘B’ word, I am kinda glad to hear I’m not the only one that felt that way with this one.
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  • Michelle December 12, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    I felt the same way, only you made it further than I did. I think I got to the 50% mark before I gave up. I keep seeing this book on ‘best of the year’ lists…. I just didn’t get it.

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) December 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t blame you for moving on. You can’t just force yourself to keep going when you are bored and it’s sapping your desire to read away. You aren’t the only one I’ve heard from that said there was too much clothes, behavior, and all that junk in there. I wouldn’t be able to read it.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) December 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I’ve read other books that people have made complaints like this about, but I still enjoyed them. I think those all had a darker edge to them than this one though, maybe that is why they worked better for me.
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  • Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings December 14, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I actually only gave it three stars for basically the same reason. The writing clearly has merits, but I just don’t like plot driven by meetings and court intrigue D: I did make it through, but I was also trapped on an airplane, soooooo, who knows what I would have done if I’d been free 😉
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) December 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Ha! Well, no airplane for me, but I think if I had to finish it, it may have only gotten 2.5 stars from me. Maybe if I wasn’t in a slump it could have been 3.
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  • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum December 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I enjoyed this one, but honestly not surprised at all that you DNFed. My obsessive compulsive side would have itself a fit at stopping at 80% though, so close to the finish line! But in all seriousness, not only is this book not for everyone, I also think you have to be in a certain mood to be able to take it. Definitely not something I would read if I wanted something more fast-paced and entertaining.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) December 14, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      The funny thing, I often feel like I need to finish a book, but since setting this one aside, I have felt nothing but good about the decision. No curiosity at all about what I missed in that last 20% (which is pretty sad).
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  • Danya @ Fine Print December 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Yeah, I can see how the whole emphasis on courtliness and etiquette in some fantasies can be off-putting. Personally I go in for that sort of thing, but that’s because I’m a total Regency nerd and I love those bits of social history woven into a fantasy world. You seem to go in for the darker fantasies too, so maybe that was part of it? I’ve heard this one is pretty wholesome.
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  • Anne @ Lovely Literature December 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    You know, I have this on my shelf but have not read it yet. I’m biding my time, maybe? This is the first DNF I’ve read about so far, but I just have not been in a mood to read it yet.
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