Author: Miriam Forster
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home.Review by Nara
Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?
Empire of Shadows will take readers on a spellbinding journey into the world Miriam Forster first introduced in City of a Thousand Dolls—a world with a divided society, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and deeply laid conspiracies.
Honestly, a big reason why I wanted to read this book is because it's set in the world of City of a Thousand Dolls- and I was hoping that we'd get a bit of a cameo from a certain awesome cat from that book. Unfortunately, Jerrit was nowhere to be seen, but on the other hand, we did get a variety of fantastic new characters and a thrilling plot, so I suppose I can't complain too much.
Empire of Shadows was unexpectedly written in dual POV, but I feel like Forster actually did a pretty good job of this. It was third person, so there wasn't too much chance to get confused between the points of view. I definitely enjoyed Mara's POV more than Emil's, although both were engaging enough to keep me turning the pages pretty quickly.
Full disclosure: the romance was not the best. It was frankly, really underdeveloped, with it just nudging into instalove territory. Emil and Mara saw each other maybe two or three times before deciding they loved each other *facepalm*. Definitely would have liked there to have been a bit more conversation and development of their relationship before heading into "love". Although, of course, then the epilogue was revealed and honestly, I didn't give a crap about the romance being an instalove because THERE WERE JUST WAY TOO MANY FEELS.
My god, that epilogue. ALL THE FEELS FOR THE EPILOGUE. If you haven't read City of a Thousand Dolls and were thinking of going straight into this book: please don't. I highly, highly recommend that you read these books in order. Technically they are companion standalones, so if you don't want to read City of a Thousand Dolls, you can go straight onto this one, but there are little links here and there that you can pick up on, plus you won't get the feels in the epilogue unless you've read the first book in the series.
All in all, pretty damn fabulous. Do give this series a read.
World Building: 4/5