Empire’s Daughter is a well-developed feminist, v queer fantasy that I just loved! I love how unique the world-building is & that there was more than just one plot to the story. I love the message this story sends out & adored the writing.
👊🏻 🧑 🔮 ♀️ 🏳️🌈
I was sent this book to review as part of a blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
⚠️ Violence, sexism, one scene of sexual assault (unwanted groping), hunting & war themes ⚠️
For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.
When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.
It’s very late in the week however I have just realised that this review is going up late – I’m going to back date it to the day it should have been posted but I am incredibly apologetic to both Rachel & Marian for the fact that I messed up on getting this post up. If you follow me on social media or on here you’ll probably know I’m struggling with my mental health a lot right now, & even though that is not a good excuse, it’s my explanation for this review being late. I am so, so sorry Marian – especially as I loved this book (if you’d like a more detailed explanation please do message me).
Empire’s Daughter is an incredibly unique and exciting book, that I was completely hooked on! The world-building was the main thing that attracted me to this story as main character Lena lives in a country where men & women live separately – the women live in villages & run them by themselves, whilst the men all join the army at a young age & spend their lives protecting their country. We follow Lena & her village as they learn to fight as an invasion is imminent, through the battle & through the after-effects of war – it’s an honest, emotional & clever story that made its way almost to the top of my favourites of 2019.
Marian’s writing was faultless & there was nothing about the story that I can possibly critique. Even though this book is only 300-and-something pages it felt double that length because of how much happens & how detailed everything was, & as I am loving long books at the moment, I couldn’t help but love this adventure. Marian has thought about everything when creating this country & I loved learning about how a country functions, when men & women are almost always kept apart. I love how natural gay relationships are in Lena’s world & it was so refreshing not to have a single homophobic character.
Empire’s Daughter goes beyond just showing the battle though; Lena’s partner leaves the village as she doesn’t want to fight, & once the fighting is over, Lena leaves to find her – this gave the book more depth & an extra, fully developed, plot line to follow. It also meant that we got to see more of the country Lena lives in & I loved learning how the different areas worked. The book ended with a huge shock, a shock that shows that Marian is going to properly explore the repercussions of the women learning to fight & that there’s more going on in the country that was first shown… there’s no quick tying ups for Marian – nope, she delves deep & really thinks about the consequences of every small detail. Even though book two, Empire’s Hostage, was expensive I had to order it as soon as I finished book one, & I’m planning to start book two this evening & I cannot wait!
Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.
The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.
I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.
You can find Marian’s website here.
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