No Queens Here: A Review of The Goblin Emperor


If I woke up one morning to find a messenger bowing down to me and proclaiming I was queen, I would be completely bewildered. My first reaction would be to think it was some sort of elaborate joke. If it proved to be a joke, I don’t know what I would feel. Irritation? Amusement? Regret? I would probably be relieved. All that envy and discontent at court would be uncomfortable to deal with. Somehow, royal life doesn’t seem quite so dandy anymore.

The Goblin Emperor is a unique fantasy book written by Kate Addison. Maia, an eighteen-year-old half-goblin, is rudely awakened one morning to an unpleasant surprise: a messenger sinks down on one knee on Maia’s threadbare carpet and announces that Maia is king. Soon, Maia is whisked away to the Untheileneise Court. Bewildered and afraid, Maia soon realizes that his arrival is less than welcome. Plots to kill him are springing up all around him. Who can he trust? Who will betray him?

Maia is a fish out of water at the Untheileneise Court. As the courtiers gradually get to know his methods and personality, his reputation deteriorates. Maia’s father, the late king Varenechibel IV, never bothered to tutor Maia or even invite him to court; as a result, Maia knows next to nothing about diplomacy, politics, or etiquette. Indeed, the only time Varenechibel saw Maia, he called him a “damned whelp” (p. 21). Maia desperately tries to gain respect and be kind at the same time, two things that seem to be unattainable as king.

The whole matter of the Untheileneise Court is somewhat laughable. Most of the aristocrats who reside there are no better than any of the commoners—in fact, worse. They are gossipy and frivolous, flouncing their fancy titles and impressive bloodlines. Maia is bewildered when he is introduced to the court. How should he treat them? What is considered impropriety in the eyes of a group of touchy egoists? As Maia tries desperately to assert his power, offended courtiers become dangerous enemies.

The Goblin Emperor is an impressive tangle of court intrigue, attempted murder, and unhappy half-goblins. It showed me that, despite the glamour, I would definitely not want to be queen.

Middle-grade fantasy, ages 12–14.

You can buy this book here.

Works Cited

Addison, Katherine. The Goblin Emperor. Penguin Classics, 2006.


  1. Ganga says:

    Great writing….i wouldn’t want to be a queen either but maybe a minor Royal would be ok? What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wisdomzelda says:

      A minor Royal? Interesting. Less pressure, less constant vigilance, less attention to whatever you’re doing. But the pressure to impress the king and/or queen would still be there, however. Then all that court etiquette! I don’t really know. 🙂


  2. lisgett says:

    Oh, I don’t know… Being a king or a queen would give you unlimited power over the nation or country you represent. So, to me, it would be pretty cool to be a king or queen (Except for all the etiquette you’d have to master).


    1. wisdomzelda says:

      Hi lisgett,

      Thanks for your comment; it has given me a lot to think about!

      Being king/queen certainly does have its advantages. After all, you live in a luxurious home, where everything is tailored to your wants and needs. You can improve the nation. You can help people in need–the list goes on and on.

      However, my understanding is that being a king/queen does not give you unlimited power. Unless you are in a dictatorship, there are always other forces that will stop you from doing whatever you want (such as laws, politicians, and your nation’s people).

      I wouldn’t want to be queen, but I can see the appeal.



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