Raymond E. Feist, author of The Riftwar Saga, and Janny Wurts, writer of The Wars of Light and Shadow, have joined forces to write about life on the other side of the Rift, in the land of Kelewan. Mara Acoma is about to give up her life of luxury as the only daughter of one of the most historied ruling families in the Tsuranuanni empire and become a servant in the house of the goddess Lashima, until suddenly she is ripped from her life of choice and thrust, untested and mostly uneducated, into the dangerous game of the council that has already claimed the lives of her father and brother. Only by trusting her gut and the honor of others can Mara hope to restore her family to the position of strength and grace of the Acoma once held.
My brother’s girlfriend who loves this series and The Riftwar Saga suggested this book to him, and he to my mother and myself. I was in the middle of reading a bunch of other things, but I picked it up anyway. It started off slowly, and it took me a day or two to adjust to the universe and the culture in which it takes place. Once I understood it, the pages flew by, and I was sucked further and further into Mara’s story, and the history of the Acoma, the Tsuranaunni, and Kelewan. The world building, while culturally happening at the beginning of the book, physically and historically happens much later, rather the opposite of most fantasy that I have read.
The chapters were long, but they tended to be more like books within the book. Each chapter was a section of Mara’s life and culminated in the important thing that happened during it. Although there isn’t as much dialogue as I expected, the detailing and descriptions were stunning. Having never read any of the authors’ other works, I can’t say how their voices blended together, but I didn’t notice any style changes throughout the book, so I guess they blended well.
Overall, the book is great. I felt satisfied with the ending, albeit a little surprised there wasn’t more of a big problem for her to overcome. The ‘big problem’ is present and accounted for during the whole book, and Mara just chips away at it chapter by chapter, rather than the normal fantasy trope of training and training and then all of a sudden having to fight the big bad guy. There were twists I didn’t expect (for once i couldn’t predict what was going to happen!), and it was extremely well written. There are supposedly two more books in this series, and I will probably read them, but I don’t really have any idea where it will go from here. Reading a long fantasy book like this always inspires me towards eventually reading The Lord of the Rings, and finishing the Outlander and The Wheel of Time series, and hopefully, I’ll get to them someday, but for today, I recommend Daughter of the Empire to any fantasy lovers out there. think about it as a warm up.
HHC Rating: 4 Stars