The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his life in exile from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three half-brothers are killed in an “accident,” he inherits the throne, but is entirely unschooled in the art of politics, has no friends, no allies, no advisors, and whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.
A fantastic inversion of the classic “scion to the throne becomes king/emperor and everyone lives happily ever after” trope, depicting the sudden ascension to the throne in a far more realistic (and challenging) way. Recommended for readers looking for a political fantasy novel like Game of Thrones, but less dark, less violent. This novel is focused on relationships, politics, and diversity, with a pacifist hero who doesn’t solve problems with violence.