Monday, November 10, 2014

Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster!!

As the second and final entry for this week's Mark This Book Monday I have an ARC review of a book that released last week.

This was one of the very few ARCs I was approved for by Harper Teen via Edelweiss and I keep on hoping it won't just be one time only fluke! As an ARC it also counts as part of my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge!

Empire of Shadows (Bhinian Empire, #2)Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I found out that there was gonna be a second companion book to City of A Thousand Dolls I was really happy because I was so very much in love with the world that Miriam had created, and when I was approved for the ARC by Harper Teen via Edelweiss I was even happier!

As a companion novel you don't have to have read CoaTD to read Empire, but if you have the world will be more familiar and you can expect a few YES! moments here and there. This is the story of Mara, a Sune girl that was banished from her clan and joined an Order that trains its members to recover their honour and atone for their actions by dedicating their lives to protect others.

When the time comes to leave her order she finds herself having to face the questions that she avoided by being hidden safely inside the order and focusing on training only, and she needs to find someone to pledge herself to, to finally feel like she can atone for her previous actions. Mara's journey is a long and difficult one, of self discovery and self acceptance, and she has to go through it while dealing with bigger conflicts, like caste & social status, prejudice, political plotting and treacherous plans.

Emil is our other POV character and he is part of the Arvil family and clan of wanderers. He is torn between what he wants and what's expected of him and he has a tense relationship with both his twin Stefan and his father, and he finds himself in the middle of all arguments. He finds himself thrown into bigger events that he ever wanted to be involved with when he chooses to try and follow his heart to find his brother instead of doing his duty.

There are many other wonderful characters, like Revathi and her grandmother, two very strong women living in privilege but a reminder that gold cages aren't as shiny as they look. They were resourceful and determined characters and I loved how they were capable of appearing harmless while having a core of steel. There more Sune aside from Mara, Esmer a wonderful friend and ally of Emil (and Stefan), Garen a powerful protector of the Emperor and Aari a Sune too filled of hate and prejudice herself that doesn't stop to anything to get what she wants.

This book managed to weave together plot developtment and world building in a wonderful way, driving us to an ending that I didn't quite foresee while showing us more and more about this world the Bhinian Empire is set in, the customs, the politics, the religion, the history... all wonderfully woven. I enjoyed every moment I spent between the pages of this book and I cannot wait till I can get more books set in this wonderful world!

In any other book I would have probably had a problem with the way the romance between Emil and Mara progressed/happened but I was so caught up in the narrative and the story that I simply didn't mind the instantaneous shift from connection to love that happened there. I was rooting for them very early on, and even if the love word happened too soon but I loved how both of them continued with what they felt it was their duty and didn't put their fledging relationship before anything else.

One wonderful and immersive read, very much deserving of 4 to 4.5 stars!

View all my reviews


  1. I didn't read the first book but so happy that you got approved for this!!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  2. Glad that despite the too-soon declaration of love, this story still worked really well for you Pili! I'm glad to know too that I don't necessarily have to have read City of a Thousand Dolls in order to pick this one up, sometimes it's fun to start out of order:) Definitely adding this to the list!

    1. I'd recommend you add both books to the list Jenny, both can be read as stand alones!

  3. So glad you enjoyed this one! I haven't read CoaTD, but it's been in my TBR pile since I first heard about it.
    This one sounds just as great!
    Thanks for the review, Pili!

    1. Thank you Lis! I hope you'll check both books!

  4. I haven't read City of A Thousand Dolls of but I just got an ARC of Empire of Shadows. I'm glad that you enjoyed it! I'll have to pick up the series.

    1. You can read Empire without reading City of A Thousand Dolls, hope you'll like it!

  5. Aw, insta-love? I am not sure I would like that, sigh :\ but I do think this book sounds awesome. And I will read it, after I read book one :) One day. I hope :D Thank you for sharing your awesome review Pili. <3

  6. I really tried with the first book by Forster - never started or finished. It just didn't attract me, from page one. The subject matter SHOULD though, theoretically. Oh well! That's okay. Excellent review, Pili!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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