Definitely a book to check out if you want political intrigue. Unique and brilliant, at least to me in a sense. This work has a lot of intrigue and the twists were rather interesting to turn out. Even though it is almost all of it, mostly what we would seeing a usual historical setting.
But Maia is certainly a great Emperor, and his growth to me is a good one. Although he doesn’t gain the commanding aura of one, but in a way he still feels like an Emperor to me. An Emperor who wishes to change things and is resolved to do so. And is just someone kind and benevolent when he can.
The world here is well-built with all the languages, the quirks and the worldbuilding making it seem so complex. It is something quite different blending intrigue and true fantasy itself, seeing as how machinations between the elves themselves play out.
As for it being a story of a personal growth, which you will see in Maia as he becomes an Emperor. But you can still recognize him after, and that he is a kind soul for all he has done. Although he was abused by Setheris, he doesn’t exact revenge on him but neither tries to do anything with him. That is the best course of action especially if this guy should be thanking the gods he did not execute you.
And neither does he take it out on just relatives unlucky enough to be associated with them. Many Emperors might not, in almost any country spare them. But I do like Maia for showing them clemency, unless of course if any decide to rebel.
As for his view on women which is clearly healthy, he respects the woman he is marrying and males an effort to know her and who are her friends etc. But I do want her to have a slightly bigger role in this after all.
As for the ending, I do like how it played out. Such as the bridge being built, all being settled once and for all. Overall, I enjoyed this book for its political machinations but I won’t recommend this for those who will be bored by the lack of any action, there are no fights here. Nor is it for those who simply don’t enjoy history or politics. But for me, I would say this is my kind of fantasy, with plenty of intrigue to see and play out.
Though it was at times a hard work to read, some of it probably went over my head. And the political twist sometimes weren’t as clever for me, or something that made me realise why did I enjoy political intrigue. But nonetheless a decent book about fantasy and intrigue, at least the machinations just doesn’t make me look for the nearest wall to bang on.
Rating: 4 out of 5