This was the first book by Nick Cutter that I have ever read. And while I am quick to say that I didn’t like this book, I will say this, it held my attention and kept me reading. I will read more by Mr. Cutter, but I will have to let this one marinate for a while first. The story line was gripping and unpredictable, his use of suspense and human universalities was reminiscent of King’s work, and the horror was both gruesome and internal. While that would in most cases pull a four-star review form me, this book also failed for me in several aspects. Cutter’s use of descriptive metaphors often left me laughing rather than grossed out, a good trick, but not the intended reaction. The characters are more archetypal characters rather than real people. They are the standard child characters that can be seen in any Disney show, and that made me secretly hope that they all would die. The one thing that I can say about this book is that while reading it, any time my stomach growled, I thought, if only for a second, that I was being eaten alive by tapeworms. That feeling alone made it worth the time and money.
Katherine Addison has delivered a very unique book that could find itself having a following that makes it a very important genre-defining novel in the future. With that said, let me tell you that The Goblin Emperor did not deliver the level of excitement and plot driven story that I expect and want when I pick up a fantasy novel. This book was much more of a character defining story mixed with equal parts world-building. She cleverly twisted into the traditional high-fantasy story of goblins, elves and magic elements of science and how science is also shaping that world, giving the book a fun blend of steam-punk with zeppelins and giant clockwork bridges. The main driving forces of the book are the politics and racism. And while all of this is very interesting, the plot of the story really doesn’t emerge until the last eighth of the book, and every bit of dramatic tension is resolved within a paragraph. Katherine Addison has created a wonderful world and some really fun characters. Now I would like to see her do something more with them.