Like her earlier works this is a prime example of epic fantasy. We see the return of old beloved characters a little worse for the ware form their time spent apart but it is great to watch them find their way back together against all odds. The prost vexing of those odds is of course the will of the empress (who would have thought). She is a very beguiling character who dominates the book. If you did not like the plotting and scheming in the author’s earlier works then you might want to shy away form this book because it is overflowing with sinister plots and strong willed nobles forcing their wills on others though the unwritten laws of the court. However if you love thwarting the upper-class at least once before breakfast then this is the book for you. Sure it might spend a little too much time telling rather then showing but who really wanted to work at discovering the main characters emotions and motivations for themselves, the real fun is in the scheming, the action, and of course the magic! As someone who reads four or five fantasy books a week and wants to eventually write this stuff for a living I give this 4 stars for a good job done and a very engaging read if it is what you are looking for.
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