The Will of the Empress

Narrated by: Tamora Pierce
Series: Circle Reforged, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (497 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For years, the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire's borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible. Now, Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit. Sandry's uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they're hardly a group of warriors! They're her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They've grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn't sure they'll ever find their old connection again, or if she even wants them to.

Tamora Pierce returns to the world of Circle of Magic for this smashing novel, which brings the four young mages back together as teens.

Suspense! Court intrigue! Romance! Fights! All the things that you love about Tamora Pierce's books are here in abundance.

©2006 Tamora Pierce (P)2006 Full Cast Audio

Critic Reviews

"A delightful page-turner." (KLIATT)
"How well word-mage Pierce understands what her audience wants, and how ably she provides it in this epic postscript to her two Circle quartets....A standalone tour de force, this will gratify Circle devotees and ensnare new readers for the series." (Booklist)

What listeners say about The Will of the Empress

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

from a writer's perspective

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A treat for any fan!

Would you listen to The Will of the Empress again? Why?

I have listened to this book several times. I think five so far actually. I love listening to this story so much because each time I do I can place details I didn't before. Some details are about Will of the Empress, but others go back to the original Circle of Magic books. It's a delight each time!

What did you like best about this story?

There's so much to like it's hard to pick a 'best' out of them. Especially without giving away some of the story!

What does Tamora Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think that having the author herself read brings out hidden 'flavors' that no one else could. Who better to read the story than the woman herself?

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several! There were times i found myself bolling with rage, others almost drawn to tears.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Full Cast Phenomenon!

I have long been a Tamora Pierce fan, but this was the first audiobook I purchased from her collection, and I was not let down. Each of the voices was a perfect match for the character. This is a wonderful production, and I cannot imagine that anyone who is a fan of Tamora Pierce's books (or even someone new to the series) could be disappointed.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • SG
  • 06-13-07

Acceptable narration of good story

An enjoyable story - I like it better than the second quartet in this series, actually. I find the primary reader's lack of inflection in some sections (particularly the beginnings of chapters) a bit distracting, but not overwhelmingly so.

This book seems targeted at an older audience than the previous books in the series.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

AWSOME!

Great story! I love the world Tamora Pierce has created. Its always a delight to enter her world once again!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

circle reforged

They are all back from their travels, but they aren't like they were. Will a trip to Namorn to help Sandry pull them together or finish cutting them apart?

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite Tamora Pierce books

I really enjoy this book and Full Cast Audio is once again amazing. Personally, after hearing Tamora Pierce read in person I really enjoy her narration. My go to audio book whenever I just need something to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tamora Pierce Fangirl

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would, very much. First off, I loved the full cast. It made it much easier to envision the characters and the world they were in. I love all Tamora Pierce books, and I had already read this one, but it's one of my favorites and I loved hearing it read aloud by the author.

What other book might you compare The Will of the Empress to and why?

Any of her other books. I can't think of others offhand that are similar.

What does Tamora Pierce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It's the author of the actual book, for one. She's not alone, of course. There are voice actors for all of the characters. I also loved the music. You can tell she's very passionate about her content.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was really looking forward to the moments when the four finally came together and really used there magics together. I don't want to get spoilery but the end was awesome.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

ok

Im usually a very big fan of the author but I have to be honest; this was not her best work. In terms of action and adventure it was nice to relax to, but as a story it lacked the "Tamora-ness" all of her other books. I liked the charactor Daja alot because she stood out more. Still I gotta pass on this one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book; spurred to comment by other reviews

I wasn't initially going to write a review on this book. As a staunch fan of Tamora Pierce and especially the Emelan universe, it is an absolute treat to listen to the author, herself, read the book as the primary narrator with the members of Full Cast Audio reading the dialogue. (Bruce Coville is a fantastic reader and author!) If you are a Fierce fan, you should give this series (Circle of Magic quartet, Circle Opens quartet and Circle Reforged quartet) a listen. Her cadence and enunciation is endearing (and you get the proper name pronunciations without scouring Google). It's like listening to her in person with only a little sprinkle of her sense of humor.

As the headline reads, I wasn't going to comment on this book, but some of the other reviews really inspired me to use my (online) voice. At least one reviewer mentioned that "Bride Kidnapping" was overused in this novel. I can't disagree more, and not just because bride kidnapping is STILL actively practiced in certain cultures RIGHT NOW. Thankfully, it's considered a sex crime in most nations.

No, the biggest reason that bride kidnapping isn't overused is voiced by Briar in the content of this book.
His voice was heavy with contempt. "You think a strong woman can always beat this? I call it rape, in any country."
Tammy wasn't just talking about traditional bride kidnapping practiced throughout our own history. She's straight up talking about rape. With a (properly) negative lens. In young adult FANTASY fiction. IN 2005! 12 YEARS before the #metoo movement went viral. I'd honestly be surprised that Scholastic OK-ed the book, if it wasn't already printing a lot of non-fantasy fiction in the YA field at the time.

By no means do I think that people are not entitled to think this premise was used too often in the book. Everyone should have their own opinion. Most of these types of reviews have 4-5 stars, anyway, despite the lack of enthusiasm for the recurring theme.

As an aside: I thoroughly enjoy anyone who criticizes the main narrator as being an unpracticed voice actress. I certainly hope that Tamora Pierce continues to focus on writing, rather than improving vocal delivery. I like her delivery just fine.