Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Empire of Shadows - Miriam Forster

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Series: Bhinian Empire #2
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on November 4, 2014
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 496
Read From: 11.2.14 - 11.15.14

Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her - a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire's capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could've imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she has lost forever outside the gates of her new home. 
Mara knew the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I do love the cover art; love the colors and the fact that you can't really see the character impersonators. Did I mention I also love covers that feature a palace? ;-)

Characters: Mara surprised me as a protagonist. She's strong, intelligent, quick-witted, can totally hold her own in a fight, but she doesn't have an attitude and she's not constantly proving herself. She doesn't have to; she's known how to fight all her life, and she's not afraid to use her skills to protect someone else. I attached to Emil and Stefan almost immediately, especially Emil. I loved the brotherhood dynamics between the two twins - Emil's always wanting to protect Stefan, and Stefan's loving his brother, but also having a hard time looking past his jealousy. Ravathi was also awesome; she was a much stronger character than I was expecting, and I really liked the sisterly relationship that developed between her and Mara. And then Aari and Tamas - they were all so awesome.

The Romance: Yes, there's a romance between Mara and Emil. I was totally okay with it. Here is an instance where the girl does spend a lot of time rescuing Emil, but Emil rescues her, too, a lot - it's so sweet!

Plot: Because I feel lazy, I am going to defer to the official synopsis above. Sorry; it took me forever to read this book because I picked it up during two particularly busy weeks, and it's always hard for me to sum up a book that took me a long time to read. The plot isn't slow. At first, I thought it might, but it wasn't. And I really loved following Mara along her journey, and learning more about the Bhinian Empire. The world building still needs work; I have a lot of questions still about the castes, the formation of the Bhinian Empire, and the assassin. But there is a lot more of it in Empire of Shadows versus City of a Thousand Dolls.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. We follow between Emil and Mara's perspectives, and it actually at times felt more like a first-person narration. The writing was still nothing spectacular, but it felt like it had progressed some from the first book.

Content: 1 s-word

Conclusion: Empire of Shadows is definitely better than City of a Thousand Dolls. I liked the characters well enough, but Mara and Emil and Ravathi were all so much better than Nisha and the others from City of a Thousand Dolls. And since this is a prequel to City of a Thousand Dolls, you can actually read this first!

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of fantasy.

Others in the Bhinian Empire Series:
1)City of a Thousand Dolls
2)Empire of Shadows

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