Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.
If I told you that this book is one long meditation on the use and abuse of power, it would sound dry and self-important. But this book is neither of those things. Yes, the imperial court of the elves is a bureaucratic mess of politics and paperwork -- but there are also long-standing grudges, secret agendas, simmering resentments, and open rebellions. In the middle of all this comes Maia, half-goblin, outcast and forgotten and unprepared to become emperor. He's smart enough to know he's out of his depth -- and lonely enough to try to trust people even when he probably shouldn't. Oh, my heart broke for him several times.
This book was a marvelous antidote for every grimdark gorefest fantasy you've avoided reading lately. Sweetness and sadness are perfectly mingled, and it's an absolute pleasure to watch as Maia slowly learns to find his place in this glittering new world. Cannot recommend this strongly enough.