Addison’s 2014 novel The Goblin Emperor was a pleasant change of pace from so much of my current reading at the time (grimdark fantasies and War-On-the-Enlightenment SF). The world of her novel is deeply flawed; her protagonist, the goblin emperor of the title, is an abused, despised half-breed, hemmed in on all sides by the customs and laws of his land. It would have been comprehensible if he had spent his reign sticking the heads of those who had abused him on spikes. That is not the choice Maia makes. A protagonist who does his best to leave the world a better place than he found it really shouldn’t be something so rare that it catches my attention … but, alas, it is.