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The Throne of the Five Winds

(Hostage of Empire #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors' treacherous imperial court.

The Emperor's palace -- full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils -- is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people's good behavior,
Paperback, 661 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Orbit
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Kristina Miller Nope. There are many relationships hinted at and detailed between the many characters, but no wlw as far as I could tell.…moreNope. There are many relationships hinted at and detailed between the many characters, but no wlw as far as I could tell. (less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Start your review of The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1)
Christi M
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
I absolutely loved this rich, complex story, which is filled with what feels like a multitude of characters that each have their own motives and purpose within the story. The Throne of the Five Winds is simply beautifully written and one I whole-heartedly recommend.

Oh my goodness – this book is long. 704 pages long. I’m not used to reading for hours and not be 10% into a book. Well, truthfully, it took a bit longer at the beginning because of the overall complexity of the book and sheer
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this ebook from the author, Orbitz publishing, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Yala Komor has been chosen to be Princess Mahara's lady in waiting who is to be married to a prince in the land of Zhaon. Once there, they try to fit it only to be targeted by assassins and more. Can they survive this cruel land? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good historical fantasy fiction. If you like these types of stories, be sure to check this book
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2019-reads
Simply beautiful, seeped in tradition, seamlessly flowing court life with its never-ending intrigue. The characters in this book are so distinct one from the other, each one so nicely developing, with such (sometimes) restrained ways about them that speak so well of their times and manners. And while some might not enjoy the slow pacing and developing of a novel as large as this one, I found that to be one of its most enjoyable aspects. It allowed me to fully explore every little nook and cranny ...more
The Throne of the Five Winds is a big book. A big, thick, dense book that’s overflowing with key characters, scattered locations, and tangled relationships. It’s neither an easy read to get into nor a quick one. As beautifully written as it is, and as strong as the characters are, it still took me a couple of hundred pages to become comfortable with the story – but it all pays off eloquently in the final pages.

The politics and family drama here rival anything to be found in epic fantasy and it
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m just going to start of by saying this ... *stares blankly at wall*

I really don’t have much to say other than I tried. I really wanted to like this book. I thought the synopsis was pretty interesting and I wanted to read an Asian culture inspired fantasy, but I just couldn’t get into it. I do want to say that this was a DNF for me, I really tried to get into the book as I said before. The book starts off slow which isn’t a big deal for me since I like to get to know characters and I fairly
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on October 15th.

Admission: I judged a book based on its cover. The cover is incredible and immediately piqued my interest. That it’s a politically-charged fantasy didn’t hurt either. Beautifully written, if a bit dense, this east-Asian inspired fantasy was the only of its kind I’ve read this year.

It took me quite a while to become invested in this book. I was almost halfway
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, giveaways
After some initial doubts

I was pulled in and ended up finding The Throne to be a terrific read. Looking forward to volume 2.
It’s been awhile, and I forgot to add: received as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review.
Aug 16, 2019 marked it as to-read
Two queens? Two concubines? Six princes? East Asia inspired fantasy?? For fans of GRRM?!

Here's my soul and I'm ready to give it away for this book.
Ben Babcock
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It isn’t often that a book wins me over like The Throne of the Five Winds did! I usually know my general sentiment towards a book within the first fifty pages or so. My mood will change for better or worse as the story unfolds, and a 2-star book might make it to 3 or vice versa, and once in a while, a 4- or 5-star book plummets to 1 star because of an unforgivable sin. When I began this book, which I received as an eARC from Orbit and NetGalley, I was not feeling it.

Moreover, I really dislike it
Calvin Park
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
THRONE OF THE FIVE WINDS was an enjoyable tale. Lot's of court intrigue and character depth. Probably the thing that appealed to me most was the depth to the world building. There has obviously been a great deal of thought given to this world and how it works. The character depth goes a long way toward making the world feel real and authentic. These characters have lived here. They know the world. It feels very natural and that's something I appreciated greatly.

There is also some amazing prose
Heather McQueary
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with the ARC. This was one of my most anticipated releases and I am so glad I got to read it! Great read! Will read more from this author in the future!
Oct 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
To be fair to this book, I think that I just had entirely wrong timing for it. It's mid October, I am a college student (which goes without saying that I'm depressed and overwhelmed and stretched thin... gotta love college life #thisisacryforhelp), and this book is headache inducing and honest-to-God just another stressor in my life.

I get what the author was trying to do with it--and I'll likely update this review and come back to this book in the summertime, or a time where I feel I have the
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Find this and other reviews at The Reader in Indigo

If you're looking for bloody battles or magical duels or epic quests . . . look further, cause this is definitely not the book for you. There is no magic here, no quests (unless you consider 'trying to stay alive in a palace with more assassins per capita than there are bankers in Manhattan' to be a quest), and the only (physical) battles end well before our narrative begins. But if you, like me, find court intrigue absolutely riveting, then oh
Traveling Cloak
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
The peace between the neighboring Kingdoms of Zhaon and Kir is a fragile one, and after putting down a revolt from the Kingdom of Khir, Zhaon takes Khirinese Princess Mahara hostage. She is to wed Prince Takyeo, who is first in line for the throne in Zhaon. Mahara brings her lady-in-waiting, Komor Yala, with her as a companion. While Prince Takyeo proves to be a good husband, the rest of their time in Zhaon is a disaster. The two women face constant fear of assassination, and balancing political ...more
I love historical political dramas. I also love magicless/low magic fantasy. My favorite TV show is Rise of the Phoenixes, and I play it on a loop. This book felt like an alternate version of that show (albeit Korean inspired rather than Tang China). It hit all my tropes: competent female character, stranger in a strange land, romance, female friendship, slow pacing, a plethora of atmospheric details, duty conflicts, intrigue, scheming eunuchs/queens, calligraphy descriptions, conversations held ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this epic fantasy novel. Interesting world building (different kinds of tea, different kinds of hairstyles and clothing, different death rituals for different cultures, etc.)

The characters were likeable (except the obviously unlikeable ones) and I kept turning pages to eagerly see what would happen next.

Basically most of the book is spent at the court of the Emperor, in the viewpoint of Yala the princess' handmaiden and a noblewoman, or in the minds of the various princes or
Alexandra Daytona
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a beautiful book, but I appreciate it in the same way I appreciate a painting for the artist's talent without caring for its composition or subject matter.

To call it dense would be an understatement, but I don't mean it in a bad way. It's just not an easy read. There's a lot of plot and descriptions that are downright breathtaking but weighed the book down for me. I found myself often mixing up characters with similar names. The only characters I can call by name are Yala and Mahara; the
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an incredible book. There's six princes fighting for the throne, as mentioned into the book summary blurb, along with a lot of women, some of whom are smarter and just generally more awesome than some of the princes. The political aspects of this fantasy world are well explained without being boring as are various relationships of many forms between characters. It's quite a long read and since it's the first book in a planned series, there are some slow points where people are being ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Don't let the length of this book dissuade you-it does take some time to really get into the story and the characters but it is completely worth it. This was a masterful political fantasy based on Asian cultures (I got a strong Chinese and Mongolian vibe from the two kingdoms). I cannot wait until the next book comes out to continue the story of Lady Komor Yala.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Did not finish. I couldn't keep reading about the state of everyone's top knots without doing anything. It described the world in such a way that I felt like I was there, but then it did so little in that world that I dreaded continuing. Eventually, I stopped dreading it and just stopped reading.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
After Khir is conquered by Zhaon, the Great Rider’s daughter Mahara is sent to be the Crown Prince of Zhaon’s wife to secure peace. Komor Yala, Mahara’s friend and lady-in-waiting, is the only one to accompany her and protect her in a potentially hostile country. Seemingly welcomed, Yala quickly learns there are six princes angling for the throne and two queens and two concubines who will do anything to attain glory for their children. Caught in a deadly game, Yala must use all of her training ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
[3.75 stars]

I received a free e-arc of this book provided by the publisher - Orbit Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can continue to read my review down below, or check out my video review here:

I was really excited for this book, because it is an asian inspired deeply political high fantasy, which is the type of book I typically reach for.

While there are many different point of view characters in this book, it felt like the protagonist of
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
I received a copy of Throne of Five Winds through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Throne of Five Winds is the first novel in the Hostage of Empire series by S.C. Emmett. It’s one of the most complex fantasy novels to come out this year, one full of characters, motives, and politics. It’s been favorably compared to George R.R. Martin’s writing, and with good reason.
Zhaon hosts an imperial court full of deception and intrigue. The Emperor is aging – and getting closer to
jonathan finn
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hidden gem

The Throne of the Five Winds is set in a Far East inspired world slow to get started it soon becomes a absorbing tale, while political intrigue abounds and more then one assassination attempt the strength of the novel lies in its characters it’s also a rather surprising mediation on the loneliness of power with the royal court of Zhaon filled with people bearing scars from there proximity to power.

The story follows Yala handmaiden to Mahara the daughter of the ruler of Khir a warlike
Jeremiah Stratton
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two kingdoms were at war but now that war is over. In the clash of kingdoms what do you do to keep things from escalating again, give a sacrifice or a hostage. One princess of Khir is sent with a loan lady to the kingdom of Zhaon to become the crown princess and marry the crown prince of Zhaon. In this kingdom there are Many princes though, 6 to be exact, as well as 2 other princesses, 2 queens and even 2 royal concubines. This many people can always lead to a lot of politcal strife as well as ...more
Maurynne  Maxwell
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with this book, and it would have gotten 5 stars from me if not for a couple of peculiar choices the author or editing team has made. It was unputdownable if not for those. Number 1 mistake: footnotes instead of glossary for terms the author tells me there are no English words for. Really? A colorful bird that fans its tail and has a horrific voice? And you need to tell me that "sleepflower" makes a potion that makes people sleep? (And an overdose can kill.) ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Arc received on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This breathtaking fantasy novel features lots of politics, plotting, and princes. The Emperor of Zhaon has two queens and two concubines who, along with his many children are caught up in a fine dance that walks a thin line between polite royal disputes and outright offensive plots. One of our main characters is Princess Mahara of Khir who is being married to the Crown Prince of Zhaon in order for the Zhaon Emperor to more steadily
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy of The Throne of the Five Winds through a goodreads giveaway.

This was a long book, one that slowly weaved in one character after another, acclimating the reader to the cultures and politics of the story. I very much enjoyed the time I spent in this world, even though the majority of it takes place within a palace. There isn’t a lot of action, instead focusing on the politics of palace life, one where different parts of the same family vie for power, all while trying to control
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, netgalley, arc
I was initially drawn to The Throne of the Five Winds by its gorgeous cover. Then I jumped in and began reading it and was blown away by the huge page count. It is definitely the epitome of an epic fantasy novel. In order to keep up with the large cast of characters, I definitely could have benefited from a family tree or a flowchart. It took me quite a while to finally feel like I had all the main characters figured out.

As with any new fantasy series, a great deal of world building is always
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. I enjoyed the author’s style for the most part and she worked hard to develop the characters. Overall, though, it was a struggle to get through. Despite numerous assassination attempts and an enormous cast of characters, there was not enough happening to keep me turning the many, many, many pages. It was truly a struggle.

I still wonder how so many assassins were able to get so close without some kind of serious security adjustment for the Empire. And why no
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S. C. Emmett is a pseudonym for Lilith Saintcrow.
“Then it will be war again, perhaps.” Mahara’s arms loosened. “Yala, is it cowardly to want to live?” Relief, hot and acid, boiled in her stomach.” 0 likes
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