Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wursts is the first book in The Empire Trilogy. If you found yourself entranced after having read The Game of Throne books, then you’ll most likely have also fallen into what I call the “political intrigue” spell. I wanted to start another series that so captivated me as that popular series did. I didn’t mind if there would be a lack of violence or hot sex scenes. I wanted something that would have a rich cast of characters, multiple points of view, betrayals, behind-the-door scheming and court drama. Daughter of the Empire gave some of that to a certain degree but left me wanting more. I still thought it was a pretty good start to a series though. In the end, the one thing that I desperately wanted Daughter of the Empire to be was, well, a bit more “grand” and “epic”.
We follow in the footsteps of Mara, whose life changes very rapidly once she learns that she is now the Lady of the Acoma household. Mara has no choice but to toughen up and play in The Game of the Council if she is to uphold her family’s long standing honor and tradition. Things obviously aren’t that easy since many other household have an eye on bringing down one of the most long standing families of the empire now that they are at their weakest. We align ourselves with Mara very quickly as we follow her on a journey of doing what must be done to keep her family from ceasing to exist entirely. If the authors portrayed her as a weak, typical female character that is seen in so many other books and stories, I would have quit. To their credit, they have managed to make things difficult for our female protagonist, which forces her to make some tough decisions without much of a get-out-jail-free card each and every time. This in turn makes her grow as a character and by the end of it all, she’ll have earned your respect, hopefully.
The world building is average but gets the job done for the most part. Considering this is an “empire” we’re talking about, I would have loved for the authors to jump around different POV’s and give us some insight into what the other major families are thinking of in terms of plotting to further their ambitions and political standing. This would have made things more interesting rather than putting all the focus on Mara and her staff where there are times nothing of particular importance really happens.
I have a good feeling that the second book will actually be more grand than the first. There were hints here and there that a whole different world exists out there that haven’t been explored yet. I might just one day return back to the empire and see how Mara’s journey will unfold but after having read the book, I am even more desperate in finding a book that will help satisfy my interest at a series or novel that has what I want when it comes to political intrigue. Therefore, Mara’s journey will have to stop here for now.