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Empire's Daughter

(Empire's Legacy #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Lena’s world is about to change forever. Harried from north and south by two different enemies, both wanting this last remnant of a greater Empire’s land, and with invasion imminent, the military leaders see no choice but to ask the unthinkable: that women learn to fight.
In accepting the challenge, Lena is separated from her lover, who chooses banishment rather than break
Paperback, Second, 285 pages
Published July 30th 2016 by Arboretum Press (first published February 18th 2015)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book…! Now this book is just something special…

This book gives a reader so much more than just one idea, one plot, one theme around strong women. This book will have you witness an Empires current, past and future affairs with its history literally changing before your eyes. It was absolutely fantastic!

In short- we are dealing with a way of life where males, from the age of 7, leave the villages to fight for the Empire and women are left behind in the villages to live, to manage, to work on
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a five-star review with a caveat: this book isn't what it appears to be.

It's a trilogy, the title contains the word "Empire", a silhouette of a woman on a horse on the cover – like a run-of-the-mill epic fantasy cycle, right? What I received instead is a fascinating take on societal norms in an empire where roles of men and women have been divided so strictly that they must live separately except Festivals, when the two groups meet to – take a guess. In order to ensure the status quo is
Angela Boord
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a rather quiet historical fantasy with romantic elements that didn’t need lots of big magic and big action to keep me engrossed right to the end. The plot revolves around a fascinating social experiment: in the Empire, men and women live in separate villages. Men are required to be soldiers and boys are taken from the women’s villages at the age of seven; women farm and practice trades. But when the Empire is threatened by foreign raiders, women are asked to fight and work alongside men. ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an engrossing novel! I know it's an alternative history, but I kept finding my imagination slipping into the realness of it and wonder if this or that is how things *really* were...weren't they? The world, the characters, their intentions, their loves, their courage and struggles are all so utterly compelling it felt like I was transported to another time, a real historical time, not an alternative history! It has a bit of the feel of Years of Rice and Salt in that the tension is a slow bui ...more
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Arboretum Press for this free copy.

Hand to hand combat violence and resulting death
the protagonist is trained as an assassin
No graphic sex. One cat dies, no dogs.
No sexual violence but discussion of rape a possibility.
**These content warnings were included by the author for this tour.

The premise of this first novel is definitely interesting, and it mak
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book from the author via Rachel's Random Resources in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Lena and Maya make a great pair. They are friends, lovers and have been since their tender teen years. For over 200 years the men and women of The Empire have lived separately. The women hunt, fish and have various other trade skills like making and mending clothing and other needed items; the men are soldiers, from the
Kim Warner
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Empire’s Daughter, Book I of the Empire’s Legacy series, is a fascinating alternate telling of medieval history. It is well-told, well-researched, and well-plotted, to where the reader is truly immersed in the medieval world. Strong female characters drive the story-line and the depth and complexity of the characters gives the story incredible plausibility; it makes one wonder – perhaps it could have happened this way.

The evolution of Lena’s world is slow and steady. Descriptions and narration
Adam Wing
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was not sure what to expect when I started reading EMPIRE’S DAUGHTER by Marian L. Thorpe. I had been aware of her as an author for some time, and had heard good things about her EMPIRE series. Needless to say (or perhaps not), I was delighted with what I found.

The novel offers a fantasy world grounded in reality, in which the main speculative conceit is defined not by magic or monsters, but by a society divided in ways that difficult to imagine.

Yet imagine it, Thorpe has.

Perhaps this is why EM
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The romance subplot wasn't my cup of tea so I skimmed that and I don't think characterisation is the author's strongest point yet I was hooked on the story. There's something about preparing for war that I love to read about even though I'm a pacifist at heart. I loved the MC's interactions with all the side characters, as well as her growth into who she is now. I don't think she reads as a teenager but that's okay.
My favourite part was the ending though. My heart ac
Eileen Hammond
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thrilling tale about love, loss, and war.
Great book. Well written and obviously well researched. Lena is 17 and lives a sheltered life in her women-run village (Tirvan). Her lover and partner in business is Maya. The Emperor discovers that a rival country will soon attack. He sends mentors to the women’s villages to train them in warfare. The story is of female empowerment and Lena’s growth as she faces tough choices to become a leader. The book keeps you spellbound from the first page. Highly
Angela Crook
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Empire's Daughter was a classic fantasy novel, quest included. If you're looking to go on an epic journey and fall into this world, so much alike, yet so different from our own, with fascinating characters and complex issues to resolve, this is the story for you. I look forward to books 2 and 3. ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking story line. Beautifully written. I love a book that starts with a map. Intriguing. I look forward to the next two books.
Helen Hollick
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a difficult and probably daunting task to make up a world. The author has to utterly convince the reader that this new world is believable, and realistic, even though it is fantasy. So the first test of such a book surely must be to make the reader think that they are having a real world described to them. Empire's Daughter passes this first test brilliantly. The whole time I was reading, I was convinced that Ms Thorpe knows every tiny detail of the empire she has created, which made what s ...more
Meredith Fletcher
You can find this and other reviews on my blog: Mezzalily's Teen Book Reviews

Thanks to the author Marian Thorpe for sending me a e-copy of Empire's Daughter in exchange for an honest review!

“But the world changes. In all the women’s villages of the Empire, this week or next, a soldier like myself will arrive to ask to live in the village, to take up a trade.” Casyn paused, for a breath, a heartbeat. “And to teach you and your daughters to fight.”

In Empire's Daughter, women and men are separa
Dan Fitzgerald
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The writing is tight, the story is well paced and plotted, and the writer knows just how much detail to give without going overboard.

The world is meticulously created, and the author’s research shines through in the details. Though the world is imaginary, it has the heft of reality. I’m not sure I’d call it fantasy, but it’s not historical fiction either. It’s a fully realized world very much like an unnamed place in medieval Europe, though you can never put your finger on where.

The themes of
J.R. Alcyone
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So let's start with an admission on my part: I've never actually read a historical fantasy before. I love magical realism, but I find the world-building and all the rules in fantasies to be a little too confusing and tedious; I tend to like my fiction set closer to the real world. (To give you an idea, "Field of Dreams" is my favorite movie.) For that reason, I tend to read mostly realistic fiction and "regular" historical fiction, but I decided to give Marian's trilogy a try for IndieApril.

Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insightful and breathtaking story: Empire’s Daughter is an an inspiring, exciting story that encompasses a great deal of intriguing themes and insights into society, human nature, and personal struggle and growth. Written for the experienced reader, Empire’s daughter is the first in a series that will take the reader on an adventure of epic proportions. A must-read!
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of an Empire, communities and a woman. Told by the leading character, Lena, this is an epic fantasy which is also truthful to the emotions of individual’s facing challenges both similar and different to reality. Lena, her mother, sister, aunt and others all live in a village of women and girls of all ages, and boys under seven. Men are only permitted to enter the village and be with the women and sometimes their children at certain festival times. Otherwise they are soldiers, b ...more
C.D. Tavenor
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marian Thorpe’s Empire’s Daughter, the first book of her Empire’s Legacy series, takes place in the fictional land known simply as “The Empire.” Written in the first person, the tale follows Lena, a young woman raised in the coastal town of Tirvan. Within the first few pages, I realized I’d stumbled upon a truly special story; for Thorpe has created an alternative world that bends gender and sexual norms in brilliant form.

In the Empire, women live separate from men. The men all join the militar
Cassandra MADEUP BookBlog
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely wonderful story full of the intrigue and politics that come with civilisation, a world that has been wonderfully and cleverly created to give a very rounded and realistic impression that makes it feel as though the Author has been to this place as opposed to having created it.

I loved the storyline, which shifted and changed in ways that I wasn’t entirely expecting, but in ways that completely made sense and didn’t once leave me wondering where something had come from. Oh d
Tove Carlund
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Empire’s Daughter is a fantasy book that proves you don’t need magical systems or different humanoid species to make something interesting. Taking in place in a secondary world iron age era, Empire’s Daughter follows Lena, a young woman from an all-women village as life as she knows is about to change.

I couldn’t put this book down, and found myself longing to cosy up with a cup of tea to read it. I haven’t had that feeling in a while.

One of my favourite things about this book is the language, b
Andrea Lundgren
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I received a copy in exchange for a review.

This is easily one of the most intriguing books I've read all year. While it is an adventure novel, and the main character, Lena, does learn to fight--her team is actually the one assigned to track down any invaders who might be left after the battle takes place, so she is somewhat of an assassin, I suppose--it is a thoughtful book. This is not another fast-paced, action-heavy Divergent or Throne of Glass-type book, and the main character is not your ty
K.T. Munson

“But the world changes. In all the women’s villages of the Empire, this week or next, a soldier like myself will arrive to ask to live in the village, to take up a trade.” Casyn paused, for a breath, a heartbeat. “And to teach you and your daughters to fight.”

With those words, the lives of Lena, fisherwoman of Tirvan village, and her partner Maya change irrevocably. Torn apart by their responses to this request, Maya chooses exile; Lena chooses to stay to defend her village and the Empir
Jessica Belmont
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Empire’s Daughter is the first. Oc in the Empire’s Legacy series and it takes place in the land of The Empire. It is written in the first person and our main character is Lena. Marian Thorpe has created an interesting story that takes a look at gender and sexual norms.

Marian Thorpe consistently makes readers think about “traditional” roles of men and women and what an alternative view might look like. I really like the plotline because this was much more of a thought-provoking novel than I antic
Silvia Hildebrandt
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is set in an alternate universe, ancient Britain. Among the last books I've read, it's a gem you don't find often.
You're immediately sucked into the world with its villages. The story builds up slow, but this is a positive element. This is a story to be savored, not quickly consumed.
The LGBT rep Thorpe builds into is believable and well rounded. The descriptions of the fighting practice are detailed and once you get to know the unique writing style so different from today's mainstrea
Veronica Christopher
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To begin, the map and back matter is incredible and thoughtful! Now, let’s dive into this book by Marian Thorpe. Empire’s Daughter takes you away and brings you into the lives of those with hearts of different intentions. I admit I preferred certain characters over others, like darling Tice, not due to their actions but due to intent. Marian forms her lead characters in a manner that makes you feel as you’re having Sunday tea with them. Intimate.
Maria Sinclair
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had a feeling that Empire’s Daughter was a book that I was going to enjoy from the moment I started reading and discovered not only a character list but a map, two things that always put a smile on my face. It is one of the downsides of reading on a Kindle that I can’t flick back and forth as easily as I would like, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Empire’s Daughter presents the fascinating premise of a society segregated by duty, only reuniting twice a year, until everything that the
Another self-published book is going down on my 2019 favourites list!! I love how unique the world-building in this story is & how much it stands out because of it; I love the strength of the women in the story & how well thought out all the characters are. Even though this book is around 320 pages it felt double that length because of how much happens & I was completely consumed throughout the whole read because of the detail & depth of the plot. My copy of book two is on its way to my house & ...more
A dystopian novel with archaic elements. This novel felt quite similar to Divergent (knowing one’s place) and Hunger Games (certain age, be sent off to train), but not entirely too much the same. There were clearlt 2 defined stories that comprised the novel and has natural breaks where I was wondering what was going to happen next as it seemed almost resolved, and quickly realize there is more to discover.

Thorpe has a natural talent of storytelling with vivid imagery and personification. I found
A.J. O'Brien
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully crafted and powerful novel. One that I’m sure has been meticulously researched and feels historically accurate. I felt the Empire, its way of life and tradition.

A soldier arrives at Tirvan, a women’s village; Casyn has brought news of an impending invasion. The request is that the women are to be taught to fight, to defend themselves from the Island of Leste. The women hold council, tradition has it that only men kill. However it is better to kill than be killed, or worse. They agr
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My books are historical fiction of an imagined world, one that is close to Britain, Northern Europe, and Rome, but isn't any of them. A world where a society evolved differently after the Eastern Empire left, where one young fisherwoman answers her leader's call to defend her country, beginning a journey into uncharted territory, in an Empire on the edge of history.

After two careers as a research

Other books in the series

Empire's Legacy (3 books)
  • Empire's Hostage (Empire's Legacy #2)
  • Empire's Exile

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