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The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts – Spoiler Free Series Review

The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts – Spoiler Free Series Review
Book Name: The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire, and Mistress of the Empire
Author: Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
Publisher(s): Doubleday
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Classic Fantasy
Release Date: May 19, 1987 / September 1, 1990 / April 1, 1992

Daughter of the Empire (cover 3)The Empire Trilogy is a collaborative political fantasy series by the American writers Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. It is also a part of the larger Riftwar series by Feist, although you don’t have to read it to read this trilogy. The trilogy begins with Daughter of the Empire; the main character is Mara who is just about to enter into temple service but is called back to her home after the death of her father and her brother to become Lady of Acoma. A power struggle ensues. I won’t go into the plot too much more as I don’t want to spoil it.

The world of Kelewan is one of my favourite things about this trilogy. It is quite reminiscent of medieval Asia with a heavy emphasis on the class system and remaining honourable. There is very clear protocol of how to interact with people of power. The constant reminders of these protocols may be a bit grating for some, as we are still being told of etiquette well into the third and final book, but personally I had no issues with it. Throughout the three books I thought the details of the politics and class system were very well done. I personally love political fantasy so I very much enjoyed this aspect of it and felt completely immersed in it.

However there were times where I wanted more depth and information about the world itself, specifically about the cho-ja and the geography. The focus is very much the immediate surroundings of the main character, as well as its politics, instead of a wider look at the world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I personally wanted to know a bit more about Kelewan. I think this is a very interesting place which really develops throughout the three books. It is definitely a new favourite of mine.

Servant of the Empire (cover)Moving on to the plot, if you are looking for a fast-paced, action packed fantasy trilogy then this is not the one for you. The series is quite a slow moving with occasional skips in time. Due to these skips we get to witness a large span of the characters’ lives, which means we really get to see them change and develop. Despite the slow burn of the plot it was never boring and I never found that it dragged. There is always a goal in mind or a problem to solve. The writing also does a great job at keeping you engaged even in the slower sections. I always wanted to read more because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Things are perhaps a little too neatly solved at the end but it is only a minor complaint, and I actually really enjoyed it.

In terms of the characters, we have a fantastic cast. From the book one I found Mara to be a very interesting and a great female protagonist. I briefly mentioned earlier that we get to see years of the characters’ lives and I really love that aspect. It creates fantastic character development and allows the reader to have a clearer understanding of the characters. Mara’s development throughout is so well done. We get to see the many sides of her, from her calculating side to her kind nature, and we get to witness her style of leadership. Even when she comes across as cold, we understand she is the product of the society she was raised in, and we still root for her. The other characters we meet throughout the three books are just as well written as the protagonist. Two of my favourites are Arakasi and Lujan. If you like well written characters in your fantasy books then you will find plenty in this trilogy.

Mistress of the Empire (cover)My one small complaint is Mara’s seemingly easy entry to the life of a ruling lady. She is seventeen when she is brought back to become Lady of Acoma and although she has grown up in this world, as a girl she would not have been in the line of succession. So it’s strange how she becomes so adept at politics. Perhaps it comes naturally to her and she understands the world she lives in, but it just felt a little unrealistic.

Overall I think this is a fantastic series with well written characters, an engaging plot, and an interesting world. I knew very little when I started it but I’m very glad I tried it out. If you enjoy political fantasy with slow burning plots then I would highly recommend checking this trilogy out. I am definitely planning to try out more from these authors after loving these books.


One Comment

  1. Avatar David says:

    Love this series. Really enjoyed the Midkemia book in general, but this series is well above the rest. Their world building is really well done, the way we got to see the Kelewan side of the rift war and peace afterwards was great. Loved the culture, the secondary characters, the cho-ja, everything. Would have loved to see the giant flying snakes that originally settled on the world with the ancestors of the Tsuranni.

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