Jelis's Reviews > Daughter Of The Empire

Daughter Of The Empire by Raymond E. Feist
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's review
Jan 12, 11

bookshelves: fantasy-and-science-fiction-m-to-s
Read in January, 2011

I've actually read this before, but that was ages ago, and this book definitely stands up well to a re-read. I didn't give it a five-star rating because I felt that there were areas where the writing could have been tighter, as there were several spots with repeated sentiments. Other than that though, this was an excellent book that, while set in a pre-established fantasy universe, stood very well on its own without need for reference to any of Raymond E. Feist's other Riftwar/Midkemia works.

The world on which Daughter of the Empire is set is heavily influenced by feudal Japan, and so there are many elements of Eastern culture in the book; something that is rather uncommon in the fantasy genre. Despite the unfamiliarity of this sort of culture to most, Feist and Wurts do a very good job of explaining the different motivations and goals and rules of this new culture. On that note, there was also a great deal of politics going on--far more than actual action or battle--and that too is uncommon in the fantasy genre. This makes for a refreshing change from the usual hero hacking his way through a quest or adventure and ultimately triumphing through magic trope. What we get instead is an atmosphere that is largely fraught with tension and sneaky subtlety and intrigue. The protagonist is clearly clever, and she triumphs ultimately through her wits and machinations (albeit with a little help of the hack-and-slash and magical variety). One rarely gets a protagonist like Mara, whose main asset is her intelligence and cunning, and it is lovely to see the way she plots. Which leads to the third reason why I like this book so much; namely, the fact that Mara is a strong female protagonist, something that we rarely see in fiction novels period, fantasy or otherwise. And she is strong in a singularly unique way. She is not a character that is overly reliant on another, neither is she some sort of stereotypical iron woman who speaks, acts, dresses, and generally resembles a man in all but anatomy. While the latter can be nice to read about too, it is lovely to see Mara's distinctly feminine nature and view of the world influence the way in which she achieves victory after victory.

All in all, Daughter of the Empire is a highly satisfying read, and I'll definitely be continuing with the other two books in the series.
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