Terrific fantasy of court intrigue with dense and vivid world-building and clearly drawn characters. Eighteen-year-old Maia lives in exile, the Emperor of the Elflands’ unwanted fourth son. But when the Emperor and his other sons die suddenly, Maia is the new and deeply unprepared Emperor. Walking through the decisions and challenges he has to face makes for a fascinating view of his world, and gives us a growing respect for his character. His biracial heritage (Elf and Goblin) complicates his life, but makes for an even more interesting story. I’m so glad I read this, as I love inside politics and that sums this book in a nutshell. Highly recommended, and okay for ages 16 and up.