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The Goblin Emperor
By Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)

Discussed February 2016

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  1. Did you read the book? Listen to an audio?
  2. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  3. One of the challenges with the book is the vast number of people, places and things with unusual names. Did that affect your reading? If so, how? Did it affect your enjoyment of the book? Did you make use of the appendix material (pronunciation guide, list of people/places)?
  4. The language in the book – particularly forms of address and use of pronouns – is very particular (and unusual to modern ears) and also plays an important role in understanding characters and shifting relationships. How did the use of this affect your reading?
  5. What genre would you call this book? Is the inclusion of elves and goblins enough to warrant calling it a fantasy? Are the airships and steamworks enough to call it steampunky scifi? Does it fit comfortably in any particular genre for you?
  6. What did you think of Maia as a person? As a POV character?
  7. With so many other characters, did any others stand out in particular for you? Which ones? Why?
  8. How does the tone of the book, and the main character, compare to the predominant tone in fantasy today (what is affectionately called “grimdark”)?
  9. Not a lot of action occurs in the book – but a lot of things “happen”. How did that affect your reading? Did the swaths of time spent understanding the mechanisms of government and Maia learning to maneuver within them interesting?
  10. There are quite a few key themes wrestled with in the book – racism – gender roles/expectations – sexuality – the use and abuse of power – cycles of abuse – which if any of these themes stood out for you and why? Did you see other themes not mentioned that you felt were critical?
  11. What other books came to mind reading The Goblin Emperor?
  12. Would you read more Addison? For those who’ve read previous works by Addison/Monette – particularly her Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet of books – how did this compare?
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