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The Will of the Empress

(The Circle Reforged #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  19,192 ratings  ·  520 reviews
Sandry, Daja, Briar, and Tris, are older now and back together again, in an exciting and much-awaited, stand-alone novel by everyone's favorite mage, Tamora Pierce.

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
Paperback, 550 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Scholastic Inc (first published September 20th 2005)
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Jordin I would definitely recommend reading all 8 before this one. But they are all really quick reads. I think you need to see how the 4 became friends at…moreI would definitely recommend reading all 8 before this one. But they are all really quick reads. I think you need to see how the 4 became friends at the beginning in order to appreciate what it's like for them to be at odds. (less)

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4.17  · 
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 ·  19,192 ratings  ·  520 reviews

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For the past several years, I've been sloooowly making my way through all of Tamora Pierce's books, first with all the Tortall books, and then with Emelan. I've liked all the Emelan books, but have always preferred the Tortall books. This is the first Emelan book that has made that opinion waver a little. Maybe it's just because this is the first time Pierce's self-imposed structural limitations on this series have been lifted. The first four books were for children, about children (ten and elev ...more
Arielle Walker
As a young girl growing up, I devoured anything with swords, knights, magic, medieval themes. I even owned my own wooden sword, my name engraved in the hilt, and eagerly persuaded the sons of family friends to teach me to sword fight. For a time, my reading centred around The Hobbit, Narnia, nonfiction about castles - and Tamora Pierce. Her writing was a lifeline in an inundation of male-centric fantasy. Her characters had a knack for inclusiveness and diversity before it was even considered a c ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
This book still makes me so mad. I realize it was likely written to show the breakdown of the circle's relationships, but even years later it still makes no sense to me given the first and second quartets. And the way they interact and treat one another in this book is a far cry from the other ones, when they were actually friends, and close enough to call one another family.

What I hate about Will of the Empress is how it just makes a mockery of their relationships with one another, and for no a
update from the 2016 reread: the below is still true A THOUSAND times over. I read it slowly this time, and although that was a struggle in itself--I loved every agonizing second.
I must have read this book a dozen times over since it was first released. It's my first go-to when I can't fall asleep, or when some book hasn't had a satisfying ending, or when I'm feeling especially down on myself.

I don't even know what else there is to say about this book, other than that it's one of those whos
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I had to really think about what rating to give this. On one hand the book is very flawed but on the other, I didn't want to put it down.

Just as a bit of a disclaimer, I do know that this particular series by Tamora Pierce is not geared towards my age group, and that's likely part of the problem. But as with her continuing _Lioness_ series, this latter book is much more readable to the older audience.

So, the adventures of Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar continue as the latter three return from thei
This book is 500 pages of hurtling towards a stunningly abrupt end. The book is a slow build -- there isn't a terrible lot happening, and you find yourself switching between POVs too much to really engage with any one character. There are no heavily plotted moments to provide momentum and development to the story; Daja's storyline is especially static; she's essentially written out of the book towards the end because her queer romance wasn't good enough for any real screentime? Which I suppose c ...more
Arielle Walker
These Full Cast Audio productions are the best things I've come across this year. My favourite stories, narrated by the author (whose slow, slightly stilted reading feels clumsy at first but soon becomes soothing and mesmerising), acted by a full, perfect cast, and even produced by the author of another childhood-favourite series!

Even a 21-hour cross-world flight home was almost something to look forward to, knowing I'd have uninterrupted hours of Tamora Pierce stories to listen to.
Sep 20, 2011 added it
Tamora Pierce has tackled some pretty tough subjects in this story such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, madness, homosexuality, professional jealousy and ostracism, heartbreak, as well as the quieter trouble of growing apart from close childhood friends. The novel is written with vivid details and natural, realistic dialogue. The use of magic fits well into the story, so that the reader doesn’t even have to think about the fact that many of the things described should be physically impossible ...more
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kayla Edwards
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I know, I know - here she goes again with another Tamora Pierce. I can't help it, I just love her characters and world building to the moon and back!

This one was really difficult for me to read. Tris, Briar, Sandry, and Daja have been separated for years. Naturally, they've grown apart and unaccustomed to sharing their thoughts with each other but seeing them shut the others out so completely is heart wrenching. I very much enjoyed experiencing the court customs in Namorn, even if I didn't parti
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these books and these characters and this world and I want there to be more than two more books left.
May 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fifantasy
Obviously going into this book afresh without any prior history of the characters is troublesome. For those who have read prior volumes, you will be thrown off by allusions to events in our Circle's lives that we are not familiar with (that have not been written yet but will be) but this book is wonderful without. Essentially four young people have separated and become adults with new secrets and come together again with the intention of remaining friends and must feel their way through their ow ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denae Christine
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I am heavily against sexual immorality in books and can't condone it. Briar is distracted, Daja goes weird, and Sandry tries to find love, but at least Tris stays sane. Nothing like a book for company.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 / 5

“Things change,” Daja said softly. “We change with them. We sail before the wind. We become adults. As adults, we keep our minds and our secrets hidden, and our wounds. It’s safer.”

This book has a bit of a time jump from the last time we saw our "awesome foursome" (couldn't resist), with Briar, Daja, Sandry and Tris now accomplished mages with plenty of experience behind them; all four took on apprentices in the last series after all, and since then have clearly had more experiences than
Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
Tamora Pierce and her Emelan time jumps. I want to follow these kids each year of their lives! But anyway, seeing them all grown up is fun. After being fractured they need to relearn each other and their bond, and it's great to read them rediscovering each other while also finding out how they've changed.

The politics are cool, the audiobook is good (although my mom remarked that the narration sounded "mechanic" because she was listening in lol), and the ending just about made me cry because it w
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2017
4 1/2 stars! "It's always us." :')
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who read the other eight
As far as I am concerned, this book was my favorite. I really enjoyed The Circle Quartet books, even though I'm 19 (I was 17 when I read The Will of the Empress) years old. And I did like the Circle Opens but I much prefer to see them all together. Not saying the books weren't amazing in themselves I just missed all the things they did and said together. I've read all nine books more than I can count, making them tattered. I pride myself on keeping my books in top condition no matter I do. But t ...more
Elaine Wong
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
No longer children, but accomplished mages in their late teens, Sandry and her foster siblings travel to Namorn and encounter a world they certainly weren't prepared for - especially since their circle was broken. Travel and separate experiences have distanced them emotionally from each other, and they don't always learn to work together before a threat strikes...

The series assumes that you've been kept up-to-date on the siblings' histories. Pierce doesn't spend a lot of time explaining what's b
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari Chapman
I've been disappointed in the more recent Tamora Pierce books that I've read - Mastiff, Battle Magic and now this book. It's not because they're YA books, as I still enjoy re-reading many of Pierce's older books.

The books opens with our four characters being reunited after being apart for close to two years. However, instead of the happy reunion that was expected, the whole lot of them had turned incredibly bitter, close-minded (literally and figuratively) and distrustful of each other, more so
Feb 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I really enjoyed seeing the characters come back together and learn to work together as adults-- while they already had many adult responsibilities, they still had the inevitable painful lessons to learn about becoming adults (an ongoing process, I find). This, and the inventive magic, make it another enjoyable read by Pierce. That being said, I wasn't entirely convinced by the empress character-- while it's certainly believable that a short-sighted and self-centered ruler could hang onto power ...more
Christine Ricci
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well written, although the jump in ages between the last ""Circle"" books was a bit difficult to get my head around. I'm glad Pierce acknowledged this and tried to keep the characters young. I also enjoyed that Sandry, Briar, Tris, and Daja, reunited. In the last novel of the Circle Opens, I was definitely disappointed to find that the four mages did not reunite. I think this novel added closure, which came full circle. However, it was not quite consistant with those circle of magic novels. I un ...more
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was so good! Full of amazing and interesting characters and their complex and so very human relationships. Also full of badassery and feminism, as I've come to know Tamora Pierce's books for. Love it.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's been far too long since my last reread, and it has been delightful reaquainting myself with this world. Hands down one of my favourites, hands down one of the best books I read or reread this year.
Stephanie Richardson
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Just finished. Maybe crying a little.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read with Penny. Always, always, always a delight. I love these four.
Kathy Davie
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Second in The Circle Reforged subseries and tenth in the Emelan overall fantasy series for older middle-grade to young young adult readers due to the empress' interest in men and Briar's interest in women. No, there isn't any sex, but this is the first time that "interest" has been this much.

If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Emelan Universe books on my website.

My Take
This is a sad one with the focus and story on all four of these sixteen-year-olds when they visit Sand
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
review to come :)
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I miss my kids
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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro

Other books in the series

The Circle Reforged (3 books)
  • Melting Stones (Circle Reforged, #2)
  • Battle Magic (Circle Reforged, #3)
“Ishabal: "If you may correct your vision as you like, why do you wear spectacles?"
Tris: "Because I like them. Because I have better things to do with my magic than fixing my vision when ordinary glass will do.”
“You can tell all Namorn this is what happens when I am vexed," she informed him softly.

"Little *bitch*," he snapped.

Sandry looked him over soberly. "If you had understood that earlier, we could have avoided this unpleasantness," she replied.”
More quotes…