August 12, 2010

Empress by Karen Miller

Title : Empress
Author : Karen Miller
Reading Dates : 2 Aug - 6 Aug 2010
Empress (Godspeaker Trilogy)
Godspeaker Trilogy.
Empress is the first book in the Godspeaker trilogy. Other books in the series are
From Amazon :
When a scrawny unwanted girl child is sold into slavery, a chain of events is set in motion that will have a profound impact on all the civilized world. Hekat is taken in chains to Mijak's largest city, home of the warlord Raklion. While in his service she learns all about power, its wielding and its uses, while she cleans and serves.

Book Review of Empress.
Empress is divided into 3 parts. The first part was boring and it wasn't until Part 2 that the story became interesting for me. Overall though, I consider this to be an okay read. Not a book I'm interested to re-read, even if I am curious about what happens in the subsequent books.

The author has obviously put in a lot of work and thought into her world. This is a land where slavery is accepted and every action ruled by their god. Godspeakers are revered and untouchable except to themselves. The people's dress, custom and even their surroundings are marked by their god. But the amount of detail is also the first part's weakness. The story here becomes unwieldy and should have been told at half the length. It isn't until the second part when these details become the backdrop rather than the focus that it starts to get interesting.

As for what I found most fascinating and the reason why the story becomes interesting from the second part onwards, the reason is the same. In the first part, Mijak's god might be dismissed as nothing more than mere superstition. But from the second part onwards, it is clear that there is some other power at work in Hekat's rise. And as the story progresses, several questions come to mind regarding the nature of Mijak's god. Is their god an evil one ? Mightn't the Mijakians be listening to more than one god ? Or could there be some unseen purpose yet to be revealed ?

The reason I say this is that my first impression was that Mijak's god was a very bloodthirsty one. Notwithstanding the unending blood sacrifices which it demands of its people, it also acts to kill those opposing Mijak's unification. But the answer given to the high godspeaker Vortka, when he questions if Hekat's claim that the god demands the subjugation of the lands beyond Mijak are true, appear to be ambiguous. And most strange of all, is the answer given to Zandakar, both when it sends him to war and when it recalls him home to Et-Raklion. This dichotomy certainly has me curious.

Aside from that there is not much to recommend the story. Hekat and her youngest son, Dmitrak, I disliked. They are both arrogant, bloodthirsty and self-centered. Zandakar and Vortka are not much better either. Whatever pity or grieve they may feel, they still carry out all that is requested of them by their god.

My conclusion : This book is worth a read but it is not a keeper. If the next book in the trilogy came into my hand, I'd read it. But I wouldn't purposely look for it. I'd advise those who are interested to read it, to borrow the book rather than buy it.

  • Read an extract from the book on the author's website.
  • Read a teaser sentence from the book which I shared earlier.


  1. I read this book a while back and came to the same conclusion as you. Not a keeper. The characters were simply too horrid for me to identify with or like (and I usually like characters that are evil).

    I haven't read the rest of the series because I simply do not want to go through the same thing again - hating all the characters of the book and counting the pages until all the bloodshed stops. I am curious about what happens next, though.

  2. I read this as well, and like you and Quigui came to the conclusion that this book had...I don't even think good intentions, but it is definitely it's own world. You can get lost in it, but would you want to? I read the second one as well...and am not sure where my review is.

    Oh no!! I just realized. Okay. Let me start again. I read Empress and didn't enjoy it. Got that. It was The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage that I loved. They were both very good. I have the second book in this series, and tried to read it once, but just couldn't push through, though I will say, it's set in a different place...and told from a different world's view. But, when you've already met the characters from the first book...and you know what their about, it was like living in a nightmare...twice.

  3. I'm glad you reviewed this book. I bought it at a booksale and haven't gotten around to it I know I need to wait to be in a certain mood to be able to get through it. lol


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