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The Will of the Empress
by Tamora Pierce
550 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA

My second read-through, since I have a policy of reading all purchased books and I bought this one at Tammy's book signing during Alpha. Despite the oft-cited drawbacks of her novels--mainly the strong YA slant in depth of development--I foresee turning to this again as comfort reading. The prose is utilitarian and the good/evil conflict is rather starkly painted, but Pierce's characters are compelling (if a bit Mary-Sue-ish at times, though it didn't bother me). Politics abound: Sandry is summoned to the Empire of Namorn, her homeland, by her imperial cousin Berenene. Daja, Tris, and Briar accompany her, but after all their multifarious travels, the foursome could really use some extra bonding.

On a technical level, flaws are easily pointed out in this novel. The omniscient POV and obvious foreshadowing is jarring; the ending is very neat yet certain plot issues--are ambient mages always more powerful than mere academic ones?--leave more to be desired. However, I think that The Will of the Empress, like so much of Pierce's work, succeeds purely on a intuitive level. I couldn't put this book down, even though it was a reread. Of course, I've always had a soft spot for Sandry, and I absolutely can't wait for the Tris-goes-to-Lightsbridge novel.

Tentatively recommended to select Pierce fans, if you like politics and/or Sandry.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-03-12 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haucuzha.livejournal.com
Considering my sister is not an avid fan of any Pierce novels and has only really enjoyed the Alanna and Circle of Magic books I 'd say recommending Will of the Empress to any Pierce fan in general is alright. Oh and I agree so much on the comfort value of this book, by no means is it my favorite novel or even my favorite novel written by her, but this doesn't stop me from rereading it like crazy.

And on the subject of ambient mages being more powerful than academic ones: I am unsure as to how you came to this conclusion. It took two ambient who had had their powers mixed together which resulted in a jump of power to beat one academic mage. If you have read the Circle Opens books you would also have been introduced to ambient mages who don't have the prodigal power that the four have.

On the subject of Sues (Pierce makes me rant if only because I have never had a friend who actually read her novels!), its true that the four have way to much power as noted by many characters, but their character flaws certainly make them very far from Mary-Sues.

I resist the urge to rant more.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-03-15 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malinarose.livejournal.com
Sandry is cool in this one, but the character that always brings me back to the circle books is Briar. I can't wait for the he goes to war torn Yanging and gets all sad book!

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keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
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