An uneasy peace has existed since the fall of the Awakened Empire centuries ago. Now the hybrid Avān share the land with the people they once conquered: the star-born humans; the spectral, undead Nomads; and what remains of the Elemental Masters.
With the Empress-in-Shadows an estranged ghost, it is the ancient dynasties of the Great Houses and the Hundred Families that rule. But now civil war threatens to draw all of Shrīan into a vicious struggle sparked by one man’s lust for power, and his drive to cheat death.
Visions have foretold that Corajidin, dying ruler of House Erebus, will not only survive, but rise to rule his people. The wily nobleman seeks to make his destiny certain—by plundering the ruins of his civilization’s past for the arcane science needed to ensure his survival, and by mercilessly eliminating his rivals. But mercenary warrior-mage Indris, scion of the rival House Näsarat, stands most powerfully in the usurper’s bloody path. For it is Indris who reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing man, the only one able to steer the teetering nation towards peace.
This book was a good example that you should always give books a second chance. I started it and put it down because it just did not work then (I also blame the late night). A month later I picked it up again and suddenly I was enthralled by it. I think the initial failure was that it is pretty heavy with everything from strange words and more. And even though I kept checking the glossary the second time there were still words that were not mentioned there. But whatever you do, do not give up. This book is is great and with a world you will not forget.
The best thing about this book was the world building. It was exquisite. Rich in detail and totally alien. There are those books that you just do not know where to put, it was his own world, his own creation and unlike anything from our world. It was the kind of world that yes if I went out in space maybe I would find it one day. The book is not purely fantasy either, it's fantasy with traces of sci-fi because of inventions mentioned, and more. Not to mention that the humans in this world are called Starborn because they came from the stars. So we have history, philosophy, everything that makes a good world. And I do love a good world. The kind of world that you feel yes, I believe in this world. He really put some thought into it.
The characters felt rich too. Indris who fight for a lost cause. He did what he had to, not because he wanted to be a hero and he kept fighting his fate. Mari who is torn between her duty and her father. It's not easy when you love your father, but hates the things he do. And then Corajidin who wants to save himself and rule the land. It was not that he was evil, he only wanted to live and he lived in a cruel world. Because the world was cruel in its way. It was a world of warrior-poets, a world where war and fighting was an art. There is beauty in slaughter. This was politics, war and treachery at the highest level.
And then we had the end, he really had me there. What a revelation. One that made me check the next book at once and if I would have had it in my hands I would have started it at once. I would not call it a cliffhanger, just something that makes you want more at once. And not only for the end, but for the whole story as the fight is certainly not over for these people. Much more is to come.
It was a strong first book, and I would say thanks to that wonderful world building. I hope the next one is equally good.
awesome, the tiny pic does not do it justice
Paperback, 506 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by 47north (first published April 9th 2013)
Echoes of Empire #1