In the final part of our readalong, the murderer is finally unmasked, and Edrehasivar’s reign begins to stabilise. And I spilled my feelings everywhere. Again.
Let’s discuss The Goblin Emperor.
Spoilers follow for chapter 27 through to the end.
Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?
This is how my feelings got spilled all over the place!
I love the Avar. He is an intimidating force of personality, but not without a heart, and I was so impressed by the interactions between him and Maia, whether they were discussing the painful topic of Maia’s mother, or making up for that lost time with horse riding lessons! I got the sense, a little bit, that the Avar sees Maia more as his estranged grandson and less as an emperor – hence the gift of a horse and riding lessons, instead of anything more formal or ‘proper’ for a fellow ruler. Every little boy must learn to ride a horse, right?
It could easily have come across as incredibly patronising but somehow it just warmed my heart.
Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?
I definitely thought there had to be a reason his family would be introduced, and in the very off-putting light that they were, so with hindsight I’m not really surprised that Tethimar was behind the assassination. In the moment, though, I think it felt a little bit secondary, by the time we got around to the reveal; I wanted to know whodunit, of course, but I was much more interested in everything else by that point. We did spend much more of the book focusing on Maia’s efforts to learn to be a good emperor and to find his feet at court, and all the political and personal relationships felt like they got more of the author’s time and attention as well – not that I’m complaining! But it left the murder mystery plot feeling like it got tacked on, a little bit.
For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?
Given that I was here for all of that relationship building (or breaking!), I’d say I’m absolutely satisfied. I love that the book ended on that hopeful note instead of something more grim. I certainly have no complaints about the relationships he chose to build, or to repair, over the ones he washed his hands of (looking at you, Setheris).
I suspect I would have had a bit less sympathy for Vedao, personally – but again, it fits perfectly with Maia’s sweetness of heart that he forgave her for trying to manipulate him. On the other hand, I think Shevean and Chavar got exactly what they deserved.
And I want a book all about Csethiro Ceredin, the duelling empress.
I hope that’s what the next book is about.
That’s it for my thoughts for now (it is too damn hot here to think very hard for very long), but don’t forget to visit the rest of the bloggers taking part in this readalong, for their final takes!
*features discussions of both Weeks 1 and 2
(More links to follow as they arrive!)