Reading Level: Adult
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from netgalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through NetGalley to review. I had heard a lot of great rumors about this book and what a wonderful fantasy it was so I was excited to read it. While the writing is beautiful and the world is incredibly rich in detail…this just wasn’t the book for me. I made it about 25% of the way through this book and finally stopped reading it. I just didn’t have the patience for it, the story moves soooo slowly. I know I am in the minority here…but these types of books are just not for me.
Maia has been isolated from the rest of the family, hidden away as an unwanted son. Then the news comes, the royal family is dead, and Maia is the Emperor. This was never supposed to happen and Maia is fully unprepared for this turn of events. He returns to the center of the empire and is faced with hatred and intrigue from all side. However Maia is a good man, and he is going to try and do his best for the Empire. That’s when news is exposed that the death of the royal family may not have been a complete accident.
This is a beautifully written fantasy novel that is full of incredible detail and has a well imagined world. I am sure people who really enjoy incredibly detailed writing dealing with intricate court politics will really enjoy this.
I did not enjoy it. There are loads and loads of long complicated names thrown at you right from the beginning. This is the kind of book where you might want to write them down as you go so you can figure out who all the political figures are later in the book.
The story moves at a incredibly slow rate. In the first 25% of the book our character flew back to the seat of power and went through his coronation. That and he dealt with the numerous tiny details that an Emperor deals with.
Many pages are spent describing how the Emperor’s jewelry and clothing are put on. We listen to things like the Emperor deciding what the menu should be for lunch. We listen to numerous letters of complaint from various political figures we haven’t meet. The names are very long and strange and for me were difficult to keep track of. I had a very hard time sorting through the copious political details and names and deciding what was relevant and what wasn’t…and honestly in the end it was all just too tedious and boring for me.
While I appreciate the delicate work it took to put together this complex political scenario and world, I found it all to be mind-numbingly boring. At 25% through there was really no plot to speak of, nothing to really drive the story forward for me and engage the reader. I did like Maia as a character, he is a good man, but he was also very vanilla and just didn’t engage me all that much as a reader.
Overall a beautifully written, incredibly detailed world, with complex court politics…that just wasn’t for me. For me this was a DNF. I found it to be boring and tedious…and at 25% through there wasn’t really much of a plot going on at all. I just didn’t not have the patience for this book, I had trouble keeping straight all the long complex names, and got bored reading about how the Emperor’s jewels were applied. I didn’t find the characters to be interesting or engaging at all either. I guess I would recommend reading both some positive and negative reviews on this one and decided from that if this is the type of book for you.