Read by Kyle McCarley
I enjoyed this so much! It’s such a rich and complex world. Let’s see… First and foremost, this is a story about a despised half-blood who, through arguably unfortunate circumstances, becomes emperor. Certainly not a new idea, but what really is?
The main thing I loved about this story is that Maia, the titular character, is not the naive outcast that wins people over with his innocence and pure heart. I’m sure that works for some, but I get no traction out of such stories. Maia is ignorant of a great many things regarding court life in regards to both the throne and the court itself, but he is not stupid, nor is he fundamentally humble. Yet, it is his lack of knowledge and hope for fairness that ultimately saves him and endears him to and earns him the trust of a variety of people in the court.
Maia is flawed and has to remind himself that revenge and spite will do him no good on more than one occasion. His honesty comes from a place of eagerness and curiosity. And the story ends with him having made significant strides in his ability to rule, but by no means will you believe that it is all smiles and butterflies from there on out.
I didn’t look very hard, but I couldn’t find much on the language of the pageantry and society, but it was beautiful. The names and ranks and offices just sounded so nice. Though sometimes I couldn’t remember one from another, I got the hist of them.
Second only to my appreciation for Maia not being the lovable outcast is my love for the story of his relationship with is guards and how out of that grows a narrative about the multifaceted concept of friendship. I shed the most tears for this story line.
In addition to Maia’s reign the story also dives into the politics of the throne beyond his succession, advocacy for and opposition to advancements in technology, gender roles, sexual orientation, and many other things that were apart of the story and not a trending topic checklist.
I have a number of other books to get through, but I wouldn’t mind returning to this story–or even just the world–some time soon.