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Empress (Godspeaker Trilogy #1)

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  4,803 Ratings  ·  460 Reviews

Her name is Hekat--
And she will be slave to no man.

In a family torn apart by poverty and violence, Hekat is no more than an unwanted mouth to feed, worth only a few coins from a passing slave trader.

But Hekat was not born to be a slave. For her, a different path has been chosen. It is a path that will take her from stinking back alleys to the house of her god, from blood-d

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Mass Market Paperback, 717 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Orbit (first published June 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Hannah
Aug 29, 2009 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves fantasy
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This is now my favorite book. I strongly urge anyone who hasn't read this to read it, and to read it with this in mind- you're not SUPPOSED to like Hekat. I grew tired of seeing reviews with people rating it only one star because "she's too mean" or "there's just something about her that makes me hate her." Hekat is set up in the first book to show you the background of the villain; to give you a look into how she got the way she did later on. If this book wasn't here, the next two would make yo ...more
Heather
Oct 07, 2009 Heather rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no human being on the face of the planet
Shelves: fiction
This is the worst book I've ever read.

First, the dialect quickly grows tiresome. The native language of the characters is formal, ritualistic and somewhat broken at the same time. Were it only the dialogue, it would be tolerable, but the narration is written in the same dialect. 700+ pages of it is too much, especially since an integral part of the language seems to be the misuse of the comma. If all of the run-on sentences were removed, there would be no book left.

Second, the book revolves arou
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Kat Kennedy
Empress is something different. Kudos to Karen Miller for doing something that I have been ranting about for too long. Creating a strong, resourceful female protagonist. She does this in the form of Hekat, our eyes and ears to the unique world of Empress.

Now if only I could convince her to write a strong, resourceful female protagonist that I actually like.

The story is extremely well-written. The world that Karen Miller creates is something that many authors fail at: a world that is immersive. S
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Mike
Jun 28, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teenagers and up, with parental discretion
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zabe Bent
Jan 20, 2009 Zabe Bent rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are ready for a different sort of story and a different sort of protagonist
Update: I've been rereading with a writer's eye lately. This book is probably not for everyone, but it is brilliant. We are so accustomed to identifying with the protagonist. We want to root for the hero. Hekat is now hero, which spoils the enjoyment of this book somewhat. But this story deserves to be told, and Miller's writing pulls you in. If you can find a way to be as brave a reader as Miller is a writer, you won't be disappointed. On to book two.
~~
Karen Miller's writing doesn't disappoint
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Terence
Dec 02, 2008 Terence rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Perhaps it's because I'm coming down from a China Mieville high having recently finished Embassytown but trying to read this was an awful experience.

When the author's idea of representing the ignorance of peasants is to have them talk like The Cookie Monster* you know you're not in a good place, literature-wise.

* Mea culpa: I impugn The Cookie Monster - at least he used verbs.
Afryst
Jan 25, 2009 Afryst rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: those with an academic interest in writing fiction.
Shelves: fantasy
Despite the single star I gave it, I'm tempted to recommend this to serious fans of the fantasy genre, as a case study. While I found it belaboured, it has some genuinely good ideas.

The main character, Hekat, is fascinating (for all of several minutes). After a childhood of neglect and abuse, she enters adulthood with a pathological commitment to the acquisition of power. This, combined with boundless arrogance and cruelty, makes her completely inhuman, an archetype. The sympathy her childhood s
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Ren
Nov 15, 2009 Ren rated it it was amazing
I picked up this trilogy in Hastings for my birthday this year. I had seen it a couple times on the shelves before and my mother has always gave me this rule: If you see a book--or a series--on a shelf and you are unsure of it then leave it be. If you come back the next two or three times and the book is still there then you're meant to pick it up. So, I finally picked it up. My friend advised me to only get the first book, just in case I didn't like it I wouldn't have wasted money on the other ...more
Alasdair
Sep 24, 2012 Alasdair rated it really liked it
WARNING, SPOILERS INSIDE and also, READ THE WHOLE SERIES, this book is not meant as a standalone!!!


I would like to start with the fact that this is the darkest book I have ever read and many will hate it or completely miss the point. GRRM's ASOIAF has nothing on it. Hekat is the most deeply crazy and disgustingly arrogant being ever written about, she is the super villain of all times! She is more evil and horrible than the Governor in The Walking Dead. This aside many forget this is the first i
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Melania Ramona
Mar 15, 2010 Melania Ramona rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like original fantasy and are not disgusted by to much blood
I give this book 4 stars because the world Karen Miller creates is truly unique and she manages to make it terrifyingly real and complete. The story is different also. If, at the beginning, I felt pity for Hekat, at the end I couldn't feel one ounce of simpaty for her, on the contrary. It was a tiresome novel, the sacrifice and fight scenes (and there are a lot of those) are so bloody they sometimes become sickening. They remind me of the bloody rituals of the Incas. Also, like someone else said ...more
Nikko Lee
Feb 22, 2011 Nikko Lee rated it it was amazing
Why I read this book?
Empress by Karen Miller was recommended by a coworker who knew I enjoyed fantasy novels.

My one sentence summary:
A woman believes herself to be the instrument of god whether she is or not.

Kuddos:
From page one, Hekat's narrative voice was captivating. Her limited, yet all knowing perspective, is fascinating and pulls the reader into the story. She is not a good person, and whether she is acting on god's will or her own remains unclear. However, I kept reading to see what she w
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dverghest
Apr 05, 2012 dverghest rated it did not like it
Shelves: shelf-of-urgh
I had previously read the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series by Karen Miller, and though I did have some issues with her writing, particularly when it comes to dialogue and the use of very silly accents to signify socio-economic class, I thought they were good reads and wanted to try another series by the author.

I wish I hadn't, and there is very little chance of me ever picking up another book by her.

EMPRESS is a horrible waste of time, the worst kind of "poor and dirty child betrayed by parents a
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Foz Meadows
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna
Mar 05, 2009 Donna rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I wanted to like this book.

It's an epic fantasy that has a detailed setting and some really unique touches. It's about a common girl who, through a combination of ability and ruthlessness, raises herself to power.

It's also depressingly flat. Most of the characters are unlikeable, and aren't interesting enough to make up for that. Hekat sees things in terms of black and white, which makes her reactions predictable and her few moments of introspection dull. Characters who are initially more sympat
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Sandra Glenn
Feb 20, 2012 Sandra Glenn rated it liked it
I applaud Karen Miller for taking a risk in creating the character of Hekat. In theory, it's the kind of book I've been craving. However...

I really wanted to love Empress, but by the time I was 2/3 into it, I hated who the protagonist had become. I simply cannot enjoy a book unless I can identify with the main character at some level. I got within 50 pages of the book's end, and couldn't quite finish it.

Also, it was unclear to me whether Miller's imagined world actually contained magic, or the c
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celestialchild
May 22, 2012 celestialchild rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-ditched
This one of the first books I have never finished, but it is one about which I can see that the reason for ditching it was probably a matter of preference in storytelling, not because it was a poorly done book.

While Karen Miller is proficient with words and had neat concept and plot, I think the major mistake was writing this book from the point of view of Hekat. Hers is a character that I would have enjoyed and been more fascinated with had she been viewed from the perspective of others, not f
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Ithlilian
Jan 11, 2011 Ithlilian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
A nameless she-brat was born in a desolate desert area where female children were seen as worthless. Her father "the man" decides to sell her to a wealthy merchant that sees beauty in the dirty nameless child. Even at her young age she has fire in her. Her master calls her a Hell cat, thus she chooses her name-Hekat. From then on Hekat decides that she will be no mans slave. For she is strong, she is powerful, she is beautiful, she is chosen of the god.

I will go no further for fear of spoilers.
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Kerstin
Aug 04, 2010 Kerstin rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Very different from her previous series, the Godspeaker Trilogy is raw, crude, and at times vulgar. The main character Hekat is psychotic, grown up in a life of pain, blood, and the secret whispers of her god. She is almost unbelievable and almost unlovable but she pulls pity and sympathy as she fights to reach her ambitions and those of her god.

Very long and at times confusing I enjoyed this book immensely for its vivided characters and twisted plot. If you want a challenging and simulating re
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Angela
Jun 29, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A 700 page fantasy like something ripped out of an ancient Sumerian myth of chariots and kings, a mash-up of an Old Testament epic and heavy metal lyrics. Slavery! Blood! Scorpions! Death! More scorpions! More death! How you can you not love anything with this much unapologetically ham-tastic scenery chewing? People don't converse in this world, they emote. If you've seen the SNL skit, "Lothar of the Hill People"... that's how all the dialogue goes, pretty much all the time. ... "It has been man ...more
Aoife
May 29, 2016 Aoife rated it it was ok
Shelves: june-tbr
2.5 stars

Empress follows a young girl named Hekat when at is sold as a slave by her father to traders. Hekat is beautiful and treated well by the traders as she travels across the land to Et-Raklion. She learns to talk properly and to read and write but is soon unhappy with her future plans. Hekat is godtouched, precious and beautiful and she will be more than what people say she is.

The concept of this sounded great. A young girl fighting against the expectations put upon her by men because of
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Ivette
Jul 22, 2012 Ivette rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This book made me want to bash my head against the first godpost I could find. I would rather swim with the scorpions than read the next installment. This book is NOT precious. It is NOT chosen. It should be thrown in the nearest godpool where it will definitely be smited. And we will all rejoice!
R K
Feb 09, 2017 R K rated it liked it
Ok...
This book is actually somewhere in between 3.5 and 4 starts. It's not quite a 4 star book but this book is beyond the 3 star spectrum.
Anyway
This is a fantasy story focusing primarily on Hekat and later on, a vast variety of perspectives.
The book takes place in a different world where there exists 5/6 "districts" that are ruled by a warlord. Each district acts like its own kingdom and there is even a top religious member called a godspeaker (like how cultures have kings and religious heads).
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Ben Babcock
May 20, 2013 Ben Babcock rated it it was ok
Some people are just, to quote Daffy Duck, “dith-spicable!”

Empress is about a girl who grows up with no name, in a dirt-poor village on the edge of a desert, unwanted and unloved. She gets sold to a passing trader, who anticipates being able to train her as a concubine. This event triggers something in the girl, some hidden ambition or untended guile. She gives herself a name—Hekat—and begins plotting, eagerly soaking up everything Abajai the trader can teach her. When she discovers that he only
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Mark
Jan 19, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
With the first book in her new trilogy,
Karen Miller makes it very clear that she has more than one rabbit in her hat when it comes to weaving a story.

Leaving behind the more traditional fantasy world of her Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology, Miller embarks on a savage journey through the land of Mijak; and a civilisation that is ancient, dark and ruled by the iron hand of a bloodthirsty God, its Warlords and its ordained Godspeakers. It is a harsh and brutal world where survival of the fittest and
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James
Apr 11, 2009 James rated it liked it
Karen Miller has succeeded in what other authors have failed at. She has made me completely despise the main character of this novel. But let me quickly say that this was a great novel. It was a fast read, kept my interested, and I actually read every word. Sometimes in a book, when the author tends to meander on in their narration, I'll sometimes skip a sentence or two ahead just to make the passage go by faster. Here, I read the entire novel from cover to cover and was enthralled in this fanta ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Mar 31, 2013 Blodeuedd Finland rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Wow, this book has no heroine, instead it has a cold insane bloodthirsty bitch. She would cut you down for just looking at you. She puts the B in bitch. If I had read this book from another POV I would have hated her and hoped scorpions would feast on her heart, but as it was. She was strong, ruthless, and the end, I mean omg, what a fucking bitch! A true anti-heroine.

The world is harsh, women are less than dirt in some places and priest rule and cast down sinners. Warlords rule districts and th
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Cindy
Dec 25, 2008 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
After reading other people's reaction to this book I was walking in prepared to hate this book with a passion. While I didn't love the book it was really entertaining.

Hekat is a very very scary woman, one that borders on the psycho side. Miller does a great job in bringing her character alive. While many people can't relate to her, you understood why she was the way she was. However I was glad that she couldn't jump out of the pages at me because if she did I would probably have died of fright.
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Writtenwyrdd
Jan 06, 2010 Writtenwyrdd rated it really liked it
An impressive fantasy world here. Typical epic fantasies are set in something more like Medieval realms, but this one is set in a bloodthirsty Mesopotamian-like era, with well-realized characters and vivid imagery. I particularly thought the author's use of language was a winner, especially in the dialog, which is distinctive to this fantasy world without being annoying.

if you don't mind reading a 700+ page tome and you like high fantasy, you might enjoy this. I am reminded of the old Tanith Le
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Padmavathitx
Feb 24, 2009 Padmavathitx rated it it was amazing
This was a great book you love and hate the main characters at the same time. The next two in the series did not engender the same level of interest in the characters.
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

Aieee! You’re looking at a nice painting of a forest. Seems pretty good, nicely detailed, and you are thinking it is pretty realistic. But you make the mistake of looking at it a little closer and it all starts to fall apart. It is like the painter has a good idea of what a forest looks like from a distance, but it’s a little fuzzy on the details. Looking closely you realize the painter doesn’t have a clue what individual trees should look like. Little details are wrong, hidde
...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. Please see this thread for more details.

Also writes as "K.E. Mills"

Lord, do you really want to know?

Oh, all right.

I was born in Vancouver, Canada, and came to Australia with my parents when I was 2. I think. Dad’s an Aussie, Mum’s English, go figure. Talk about Fate and Destiny. But three passports come in hand
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More about Karen Miller...

Other Books in the Series

Godspeaker Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Riven Kingdom (Godspeaker Trilogy, #2)
  • Hammer of God (Godspeaker Trilogy, #3)

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“A warlord who neglected his warriors had no business calling himself a warlord. No matter his trial, no matter his private pains, a warlord always place his warhost first.” 2 likes
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