Katherine Coble's Reviews > The Goblin Emperor

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
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really liked it
bookshelves: tbr-selections-2016, currently-reading
Reading for the 5th time. Most recently started February 7, 2019.

4 stars for what should have been a 5 star book. Why?

This is the first Sarah Monette ("Katharine Addison" is a pen name) I've read. She's a marvelous storyteller, but apparently much of her favourite type of world-building is the use of convoluted names built from a complex naming convention. So...
The main character is a goblin-elf offspring from a diplomatic marriage. His name is Maia. (Oh yes, many of the males have female-sounding names, adding to the confusion.) but his family name is something like Drazhad, which is appen---
No. Wait. Im not even going to go into detail. Just trust me. It's tortured and confusing, with most of the names sounding like a combination of Farsi, Gaelic, and Russian.
Yes. It IS that much of a hot mess.

Normally I'd put any such book down because I hate to fight my leisure reading material. I dislike having what amounts to the linguistic equivalent of a calculus problem thrown into my escapist fiction.

But the character of Maia was so dear and wonderful that it was otherwise a pleasure to live his life with him. I skipped all the names after awhile and trusted the context to buoy me along. Although I did rejoice when the horse appeared and was named "Velvet".

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Quotes Katherine Liked

Katherine Addison
“until we thought to ask a prisoner why the Nazhmorhathveras call the Anmur’theileian ‘Memory of Death.’ We had thought”—and he used the plural, with a gesture that seemed to encompass generations of knights and foot soldiers fighting and dying far from home—“that they named it that for the uncounted Nazhmorhathvereise dead.”
Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor

Reading Progress

January 12, 2016 – Shelved
January 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
March 17, 2016 – Started Reading
March 18, 2016 –
37.0% "I love this book. I do. But the names! It's all just... Look. I appreciate deeply that she wanted to have a world built. But it feels like 80% of her worldbuilding went into these tortured naming conventions and the unutterable slosh of letters that resulted. I read a lot of history and I'm used to unfamiliar names. But I have to say these just...go beyond anything I've ever encountered. ."
March 18, 2016 –
37.0% "I'm definitely enjoying the book. But whenever any of these use-all-the-scrabble-tiles names crowd onto the page I just glaze over and go about figuring out the character from the context."
March 19, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 27, 2016 – Shelved as: tbr-selections-2016
October 2, 2017 – Started Reading
October 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 2, 2018 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
January 2, 2018 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
January 29, 2018 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
November 22, 2018 – Started Reading
November 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
February 7, 2019 – Started Reading

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