Book Review: Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

Empire of Shadows
Bhinian Empire #2
Author: Miriam Forster
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Released: November 4 2014
Review Source: Harper Teen

Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home.

Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?

Empire of Shadows will take readers on a spellbinding journey into the world Miriam Forster first introduced in City of a Thousand Dolls—a world with a divided society, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and deeply laid conspiracies.

Mara is a young Sune girl faced with a decision of how to bring her honor back; Emil is a young Arvi man just trying to make himself happy without upsetting his father. As their paths intertwine more than once they will be taken on a journey to show them that they can honor their family while making sure that they are happy.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I do not want to say that it was great, but I also cannot say that it was bad. If it were bad I wouldn’t of finished it, and I wouldn’t of enjoyed it. But if it were phenomenal I would’ve finished it a lot quicker than I had. That being said-it reminded me completely of the video game Skyrim, which is by far one of my favorite video games ever. This was the main draw for me in the beginning. I found myself a few chapters in wondering if I should continue one and my mind would tell me “Yes! It reminds you of Skyrim, it must be good!” and I am really glad I followed that impulse.

The romance was barely there, but it was briefly touched just enough that it made your heart melt at the right moments. I’m glad it wasn’t front and center of the story because honestly that would’ve been predictable. When Mara had to pledge to someone I was 100% certain that she would pledge to Emil-there would be tension but in the end they would fall in love. It was also refreshing to switch from Mara’s story to Emil’s story. They aren’t together for most of the book so it’s nice to realize that they both have their own lives and yet they both are thinking about the other. Plus it was always nerve wracking going from one dramatic event in Mara’s world to a dramatic event in Emil’s. It builds the tension in their stories even more which I thought actually really worked.

To be completely honest I almost didn’t finish the book, I felt that I had what I needed for the review so I wouldn’t have to finish it. I told myself that I would finish one more chapter and be done. Next thing I knew I had finished the book, and honestly I’m glad that I did. I haven’t read any of the series so I cannot tell those of you who are fans if it went along with the rest of the story well. But from a viewpoint of someone who read it as a standalone book the ending was great and completely unexpected! I would’ve been disappointed with myself if I hadn’t finished this book.

So in the end I am glad that I read this book, not the worst book I’ve picked up and I really did grow attached to these characters. I think that in the future I will read the rest of the series as well.

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