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

January 2011

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