Michael Y. Patuwo's Reviews > Mistress of the Empire

Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

liked it

I have strongly mixed opinions about this books; parts of it excite me so much that I thought 'this is a truly magnificent scene', while other parts made me fume with irritation and disbelief.

Let's start with the good part. Mistress of the Empire started with a BANG! that left me unable to put the book down for a few chapters because of how powerful its impact was on the story and characters. Later in the book another tragic surprise roped me in with a similar intensity, and the fast-paced action scenes that followed after was kept my interest going for at least a hundred pages more. It was very pleasant and made me fall in love with this book... if only it lasted throughout the experience.

Unfortunately snail-paced interludes bog the plot down, and I often question whether these chapters are truly necessary to the book's plot. I skipped entire scenes where nothing but banal political discussions happened, and later as events unfolded I realised that I have not missed anything at all. Why even have chapters written from the point of view of Jiro? He did nothing but sit around and plot, and later it turned out that he did not achieved much with all the plotting he had done (in fact, it almost did not matter at all). I also found a gaping flaw with Jiro's character. What sort of 'intelligent' man would harbour a grudge against a lady who chose his mentally inferior brother as a husband to win political favour (and intentionally caused his death, too)? Jiro was petty, impatient, murderous, harsh, unforgiving, vindictive, and so prone to bouts of fury that I did not for a moment believe that he was 'cunning' or 'intelligent.'

And here comes my biggest problem with the book, which shaved off that 2 stars out of the 5/5 that I would have given if things had been otherwise.

What the hell is with the magician Assembly?

If Tsunarians had any brains at all, they would fight against the Assembly to the last drop of the their blood if only to end their tyrannical rule over the land. The magicians were extremely powerful, extremely dangerous and so infinitely murderous that as I read on I held to the belief that they needed to be obliterated by any means possible. But the ending had left me utterly dissatisfied. Even the 'good' mages were no better: they did nothing as entire armies were incinerated in the most graphic way possible, instead retreating back to their petty, ponderous discussions instead of taking severe actions against the members of the Assembly who had taken human lives for no good reasons at all.

I hate Tapek, I hate Hochepapa, I hate Milamber, and I hate the book for not having them systematically ripped apart as the events of the book came to an end. Instead we get a nonsense divine-protection Deus Ex Machina as a solution to the book's climax.

So there it is, a mixture of 1-star and 5-star elements of the book that compelled me to give Mistress of the Empire a 3-star rating. I loved this series, and it had some truly insightful plot and interesting characters in it, but the first book, in my opinion, was the masterpiece of the trilogy.
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