….  absorbing and thoughtful with court intrigue

Fourth in line to the throne and teenage, Maia is suddenly pulled out of a bleak exile to become the new Emperor.  Naive, bewildered and embarrassed, Maia stubbornly and painfully carves out his new role surrounded by court intrigue and distant servants.   There is little action, magic or sword play.   Doesn’t sound much of a sell … and yet, the decency and loneliness of this half-goblin amidst a fabulously rich and self-assured Elven Court makes for an absorbing, thoughtful read.  The world building and naming, though dazzlingly imaginative and well built, can be slightly too rich but stick with it for the ear signals, the Court Rituals and the gradual development of Maia’s character from gauche teenager to young and outward looking Emperor.

It won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy novel in 2015.