Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable secret agendas.A single hidden blade.
The imperial palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in the Empire of Zhaon. Komor Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of the vanquished kingdom of Khir, has only her wits and her hidden blade to protect herself and her charge, who was sacrificed in marriage to the enemy as a hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, to secure a tenuous peace.
But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.
Then, the Emperor falls ill — and a far bloodier game begins… (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on October 15th.
Admission: I judged a book based on its cover. The cover is incredible and immediately piqued my interest. That it’s a politically-charged fantasy didn’t hurt either. Beautifully written, if a bit dense, this east-Asian inspired fantasy was the only of its kind I’ve read this year.
It took me quite a while to become invested in this book. I was almost halfway through, and considering not finishing, before I found myself interested in the story. There’s that much setup. The pacing was much slower than with many fantasies, and takes some getting used to.
The writing was flowery, which alternated between annoying and impressing me. What can I say: sometimes I’m hard to please. That being said, I am of the opinion that if I had cloistered myself away for a few days and read this book straight through, I would have enjoyed it more. The subtle chess-like moves made throughout this book were very well done and it’s apparent that the author has an intricate plan for the series and knows exactly where everything is going.
My biggest complaint is less of a complaint than an observation: it was really difficult to keep track of all the characters for the first bit. Next time I pick up a book of this scope, I’ll write down character names and relationships if there isn’t a glossary of characters in the book.
If you like slow-building books, political intrigue, and flowing language, this is a fantasy to read.