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The Empire's Ghost

(Paths of Lantistyne #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Isabelle Steiger has crafted a powerful and masterful debut with The Empire's Ghost, the first book in a haunting new epic fantasy series.

The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild.

But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmat
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Bookish Selkie
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Empire’s Ghost was a book that sounded right up my alley: an epic fantasy that touts a complex, multi-faceted story complete with a rich cast of characters and many points of view, not to mention the potential of a brand new setting filled with unique cultures and warring kingdoms—all set within a world where magic has once been lost but is ready to be found again. And indeed, it was a solid novel that delivered on a
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review from Tenacious Reader:

The Empire’s Ghost is epic on many levels. The massive empire of Elesthene is now history, fractured into separate lands. Magic has become fable, thought to be rooted in superstition rather than historical fact. The story gives viewpoints from several rulers, all with their own agendas and ruling styles. You also get the view point of many citizens and soldiers as well. It gives a sweeping view of what life is like across the
Feb 10, 2017 added it
Shelves: netgalley, own, kindle, dnf
DNF. I normally always finish a book but I just couldn't find any connection to the numerous plot lines that were creeping along. I left it and came back 2 times, thinking a mood change or a different day would change my perspective. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. The Empire's Ghost, at 25% (which was probably close to the length of a regular novel) still didn't hold my attention and I have to admit defeat, this read wasn't for me.

I received this ARC copy of The Empire's Ghost from St. Mart
Christi M
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
*May contain spoilers*

Before picking up this epic fantasy novel, I did what I often do when attempting to decide if the book in question is one that I would want to read: I took a look at other reviews. Overwhelming, what I read over and over again was that there was a large cast of characters that left some confused during reading. For me, I generally like to read fantasies with large casts so when I got the book I dug right in. To help anyone who is considering this book determine if there are
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Empire' Ghost is a book full of mysteries and dark secrets, fading magic and the plots of the cunning. There are a lot of characters involved which I came to love.Braddok for example is one of my favourite outlaws.

I loved how the story progressed slowly and every character had a back story, and depth that not many authors accomplish without being boring. I found that Steiger has mastered the art of not telling much, but having said everything that is needed. The hesitant stories and pieces p
Bookish Selkie
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5- Rounded up because the last 20% of the book really brought it all together and made me eager to read the sequel! There were many different threads to this story and it took time for me to feel fully invested. With a wide range of characters, I never felt there was one central protagonist to focus on and instead the story followed everyone from power-hungry rulers to a tavern’s kitchen boy. The complex, character-driven worldbuilding packed a lot of information into the first half of this bo ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hefty read, The Empire's Ghost weaves together a multitude of tales - mysterious and adventurous into this colossal first book of what promises to be an epic series.

In the wake of the fall of the empire of Elasthene, Imperator Elgar has no qualms about airing his ambitions to reforge the huge kingdom under his rule, and only three more kingdoms have yet to fall to his control. In Esthrades, the calculating and unnerving Lady Arianrod Margraine has taken her father's throne upon his death, wit
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2020, 2017
Added after re-read 4/2020: Yep, this is still absolutely incredible fantasy (maybe even better upon re-read!?) and I do not understand at all why everyone has been sleeping on this. Maybe with the release of the sequel in the fall it can have a second life--and I'm starting the sequel next, so excited!

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

The Empire's Ghost is the first book in a new fantasy series in which the great empire Elesthene rose and at the same time ended the use of magic. (I
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
this starts off pretty slow and it kind of takes a while to understand where the story's heading. at least to me it did.

there is a lot of politics, strategy, and social play at work here, and a few fight scenes thrown here and there, but there's more dialogue interaction which I honestly enjoyed.

the characters are quite interesting, and some you sort of wonder why they're even there like ... *cough* Roger *cough* (I see you) but maybe we'll find out more about everyone's purpose later on.
Barbara ★
Interesting premise and a beautiful cover which actually caused me to read it. A really, really slow and confusing start - too many characters from all over the darn kingdom. It made trying to figure out what was going on, who were the good guys vs bad guys,where exactly things were happening. Just too much going on to really get a handle on anything until over half way through and then everything drew together into a cohesive story and was enjoyable.
Charlotte Lisbon
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received the Empire's Ghost over my Magic Chest book subscription in May.

After reading six of crows, I was in the mood for more thrilling multi-POV fantasy novels and this book did not disappoint.

Even though the start was quite slow, due to the eleven ! POVs. It took more than a 100 pages to introduce most of them and tell their part of the story. Due to the sheer height of the book, this would account for approximately 150 pages in "normal" book size and that is a bit too much for my feelings
Katherine Kendig
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Empire's Ghost started out unevenly -- like it couldn't quite decide what tone to take, so it took them all. But once it got rolling, I really liked it. It doesn't work the way books normally do in the sense that often times, characters make sensible decisions that preclude large swathes of possible plot. (For instance, a character who can't fight might actually.... stay out of a fight!) There's a lot going on, and at the same time, there's very little actually happening; most of what propel ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Just… Wow. If you enjoy epic fantasy go get yourself a copy of The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger and make sure to pre-order book two, The Rightful Queen, which comes out on July 21, 2020.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read an epic fantasy book. I think I was put off because I was reading the wrong ones. Ones where the women have big breasts and are scantily clothed. I should have known I need to seek out female authors. Authors like Steiger who has numerous strong female characters, not
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a great start to a new series. I thoroughly enjoy fantasy with large casts, complex plot threads, and switching perspectives. I dove into the world due to rich descriptions and latched onto characters easily. What is really wonderful about this novel, is that each character, good, bad, or in-between as most are, they were all well rounded and drawn with the keen eye of realism. When there is that sort of realism, the fantasy slips in unnoticed, feeling natural. I was lost in in the worl ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book the characters have pulled me in and made me want to see a better future for them, I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what has become of all of these wonderful people. I love how all the characters are coming together in their stories and how their individual stories intermingle. This is the first book I have read by this author but I know I will be reading more. I definitely recommend this book.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
6/10/20 - reread
Loved it just as much the second time around. I think fans of Robin Hobb and George R. R. Martin will enjoy this book.

This book is not for everybody. It's slow but if you like character driven, political fantasy with some strong female characters - this book is for you. Some people say that the plot went nowhere and they are not wrong, however, this book is only a set up for a long series. The cast of characters is very large and it is definitely the reason for the lack
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was enjoyable after getting into it. This took quite some time, about half the book.
Since the book is about 400 pages long, this means it takes about 200 pages.
This book tells the story about a continent that once was the one country Elesthene, beautiful, rich and the place where magic fled from. Imperator Elgar wants to bring magic back to this world and also wants to recreate the illustrious Elesthene. To do this he already has conquered to of the five (Aurnis and Lanvaldis) lands on
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A strong debut novel with a pretty solid premise that lays down the foundation of future books in the epic story that it is trying to tell. This is one of the underrated books, and I hope that it gains a more wider audience. Isabelle Steiger is definitely a talented author to watch, and I would feel sorry if she stops writing because the book goes unnoticed or so in regards to the fantasy reading community. There isn't much action and conflict in the story, but, the political tension is palpable ...more
Lauren Sherrill
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF - I couldn't get into the story. It started off so slow. ...more
 Crystal ➳ Reading Between the Wines Book Club
Unfortunately, I am going to have to shelf this one. I only made it 4%, which I usually prefer to push farther, but there were so many different characters and plot lines just in that small amount of time, it is very hard to follow. I couldn't tell you who any of them were or what the story was even about. None of the characters peaked my interest either, they all seem very downtrodden.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A well-written but over-busy debut novel, "The Empire's Ghost" is the answer to the question, "What would 'Game of Thrones' be like if the plot never really went anywhere?" The answer is that it would end up feeling a lot like "The Empire's Ghost." There is a LOT of intrigue, treachery, plotting, double-dealing, theiving, assassination, battling, and covert traveling in this novel. Ms. Steiger REALLY loves her intrigue...and to be fair, she's pretty good at writing it! George R.R. Martin would b ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
*** I received this book as a free copy from Netgalley and St. Martin's Press/ Thomas Dunne Books
in return for an honest review ***
Side note: Isabelle Steiger's new book is coming out next week, so St Martin's Press was offering a special download on her first book in exchange for a review. Unfortunately, the version they sent me was a protected PDF with horrible formatting. This mattered because the book has a lot of POVs and different characters and the POV in the PDF would shift from charact
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Covers often provide vehicles to draw us to books. If I were to see a person walking alone on the beach or into the arms of a significant other, I know I need to head into the opposite direction of that novel. But by the same token, if I see a desolate frozen world with a lone individual walking towards a deep dark abyss or something indistinguishable in the distance, well then you have me intrigued. For good measure, you can also throw in something supernatural in the title. The Empire's Ghost, ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"As much as I love being made privy to confessions of dishonesty and criminal acts in my own establishment," Morgan interrupted, "I don't believe I gave you two any impression--any at all--that this was the proper place to stash your spoils."

The quote rendered above was the first moment while reading this book I laughed aloud (certainly not the last), and was also the moment I fell in love with everything about it. And yes, this quote came from page seven.

To say this book was good would be d
Mirah W
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
'The Empire's Ghost' is an epic fantasy adventure that centers around various kingdoms seeking control over neighboring lands, but with magic and cunning rulers, who will have the upper hand and who will be victorious? The imagery is quite exquisite throughout the novel and the locales seem to become characters themselves. There are a lot of characters, names, and places to remember, but don't let that dissuade you from starting this novel. The characters were a little hard to remember since the ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I initially gave this book a 4/5, mostly thanks to a likable (if sometimes difficult to keep track of, due to its sheer size) cast that's simply fun to read about. I have to bring it down to 3, though, because of one simple problem: I'm not quite sure what the plot of this book actually is.

I mean, there's a bunch of sublots. There's the probably-evil Emperor that wants to conquer the entire continent and sends our main heroes on a Quest to recover an object that may or may not be magical. There'
Ceili Widmann
Jun 29, 2020 is currently reading it
This book is dense, but the detail makes for an intriguing adventure. Would recommend for people who enjoyed GOT or Mark Lawrence books because of the rapid POV change style. The characters are so delicately interwoven that it is difficult to see where the story is going to go, and each person is interesting enough you get enthralled before the POV abruptly changes. At first I did wish that there was more detail about the world that's being built, but with patience more was revealed. The book is ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up because I was looking for a one shot fantasy. This is not that. This is pretty definitely the first of a series. Despite the misunderstanding, I cannot be disappointed, because this is a pretty great first book. The world is rich and deep and interesting. There is a large cast of characters of all types, and most of them are well rounded and compelling.

The story itself was a bit chaotic. I wouldn't really be able to tell you what story this book is telling, because it is pr
Jo Ladzinski
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to like The Empire's Ghost. I did. The set up was interesting, the kingdoms each had a distinct personality, but what really broke the book for me was the fact that all the introductions were so front-loaded. I had a hard time keeping track of character names. A large cast is an expectation for epic fantasy, but having a list of characters at the end of the book would have been majorly helpful.

For fans of sprawling novels, there's a lot to like here. I especially loved the scheming quee
Paige Cloud
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm not the kind of person who usually likes novels that follow several characters and just as many kingdoms. However, I felt like Steiger did really well on this one. It took me awhile to get acquainted with all of the characters, but once I did - I was hooked! I really enjoyed Arianrod and her sassiness - I'm definitely rooting for her. Steiger has a nice writing style that is easy to fo
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Isabelle Steiger read her first novel at age five: THE BOXCAR CHILDREN, discovered on a shelf in her kindergarten classroom. By about page twenty, she'd decided upon two things: This is my favorite thing I've ever done, and When I grow up, I'm going to make these. She stands by those decisions to this day. ...more

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Paths of Lantistyne (2 books)
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