Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Servant of the Empire (Riftwar Cycle: The Empire Trilogy 2) by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts

Mulluane | 10:00 AM | 6 Comments so far
Love Fantasy with cut throat politics? A strong female lead? A touch of forbidden love? Alien races? All powerful magicians? Well this edition of the Empire Trilogy has all that and more!
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The brilliant, eagerly-awaited sequel to Daughter of the Empire.

Mara of Acoma, Ruling Lady of her house, has now established herself as a force within the Empire. As an expert player of the Game of the Council., she is a master of its bloody political maneuvering. Mara has made gains for her followers, including new lands, but the war effort on the world of Midkemia is draining off manpower, and slaves are difficult to find.. So against advice, Mara buys a group of Midkemian prisoners-of-war, only to discover that one of them is a noble: Kevin, third son of the Baron of Zun. Questioning soon reveals that he may be of great use to her in the next rounds of the Game of the Council.

*Blurb source *Crydee.com
Servant of the Empire (Riftwar Cycle: The Empire Trilogy 2) by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts
Book Source: Personal Copy

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Mara has proven herself to be much more than a young priestess wannabe. Much to everybody's surprise. she turns the game of council on its collective heads. But her success comes with a cost. Mara is now embroiled in a blood feud against a powerful house. One that could result in her death and the death of her family name...

But Mara is surrounded by not only her brave warriors and loyal advisors; she has mastered the art of thinking outside the box. And the entire realm is wondering what she is going to do next...

♦ What I Liked. Mara keeps developing as a character. She makes mistakes, she challenges tradition and she learns along the way.

This book introduces a new character. A Midkemian slave who intrigues Mara with his lack of humility, his defiance of his enslavement and his irreverent sense of humor. Empire slaves know their "place." A slave is born as such in punishment for sins incurred during his/her past life. Once a slave, always a slave. Best they can hope for is to atone for their past lives by exhibiting unquestioning obedience to their masters so they might receive a higher station in the next.

The barbarians of Midkemia however have different beliefs. To them, slaves have but one duty. To defy and escape. Something no empire slave would ever dream of doing.

RT: The Empire Trilogy explores how tradition blurs the lines between right and wrong.  via @mulluane
Mara, against the advice of her advisors, decides she wants to understand this barbaric behavior so she begins to befriend one of the Midkemia slaves. What she learns will shake the very foundation of all of her beliefs.

Watching this process was engrossing. The relationship between mistress and slave sets up a unique opportunity to explore the very depths of each society and its system of beliefs. Along the way Mara finds out that her world has become stagnant and that maybe, just maybe, living by a strict code of honor isn't everything she was raised to believe.
Servant of the Empire (Riftwar Cycle: The Empire Trilogy 2) by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts

♦ What I didn't like. As much as I loved the interaction between Mara and the barbarian Kevin, I found myself questioning the relationship.

Granted, Mara is well known for flouting tradition, but to develop a romance between mistress and slave should never have happened. This wasn't a situation of pushing boundaries, this relationship torn them down and threw them away.

And nobody, not even her enemies, used this relationship against her. Not even when it was discovered that he was a noble in his own land. Nobles were not taken prisoner, they were put to death. But at no point was this information ever acted upon, or even used as a threat. Made no sense.

The other inconsistency that nagged at me was how easily Keven forgot his fellow slaves. He is busy living it up in the main house while they toil in the fields. Ever so often he "remembers" them and pays a visit but for the most part, it is like they don't exist.

For a seemingly caring and compassionate individual, this was totally out of character. I am not sure I could sleep at night if my "friends" were suffering while I lived in opulent luxury. Love may be blind but it should never be THAT blind!

♦ Conclusion. Flaws aside, I still treasured the time I spent with Mara each day. Intelligent, resourceful and willing to embrace alien concepts, her transformation from girl to woman was a joy to watch. Mara is a study in contradiction. One minute she can be warm, caring, full of love and laughter and the next, she is cold, calculating and willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Even if her heart breaks in the process.

And she isn't done yet! I'm looking forward to seeing what Mara gets up to next.

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Servant of the Empire (The Empire Trilogy, #2)

Author: Raymond E. Feist
Author: Janny Wurts

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Content: Magic, Politics, War
ISBN-10: 0553292455
ISBN-13: 9780553292459
Publisher: Spectra (January 1, 1997)
Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
Cover Design: Don Maitz
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Amazon: US ~ Canada ~ UK
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Epic Fantasy Review of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts - Reviewed by Mulluane on March 3 2015 - Rating: 4 of 5

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. I picked up the first volume on the strength of your earlier review, so despite the flaws you pointed out I'm quite curious to read it - when, I have no idea :-) but I'll get there....

    1. Well the flaws were annoying in an almost subliminal way. The story is so well written and engrossing that what I perceived as inconsistencies, barely hovered around the edges.

      Was like an itch. As long as I didn't scratch it, it faded away :>)

      Still one of my favorite series!

  2. This does sound intriguing. I'm a little puzzled about the relationship between Mara and the slave, tho. Maybe what you said about forbidden relationships fits with how slavery has been developed for the world of this series, but often master-slave relationships were more complex and less unequal than memory and the rather unusual flavor of slavery found the USA suggest. {Smile}


    1. Put the relationship into the context of an eastern society like feudal Japan with its system of reincarnation and and code of honor. They also kept slaves under strict conditions and constraints. No slave ever tried to rise above their station; sex slaves yes, life partners, no.

      But his role is pivotal to the story and Mara needed exposure to his unorthodox barbarian beliefs in order to grow and develop. License was taken to achieve the desired results. The pair did try to "hide" the nature of their relationship in public but in a world rife with spies, servants, merchants, priests and assorted other peoples coming and going to and from the estate, it could not have been kept secret.

      But I can't stress enough, it is not a deal breaker. It is a gnat....

  3. It looks promising. I have been thinking maybe I should go back and read some of the books from the 90s that I missed, since most of the series that I have started recently have disappointed me.

    1. I do that myself whenever I get burned out by all of the intense, dark epic fantasy of today. This series is just as multilayered as anything I've read recently but it isn't as depressing. Not to say there isn't any tragedy and heartbreak, but there is a balance of light and dark.

      That balance is what I keep looking for and rarely finding.

      Thanks Tia! I love it when you stop by :>)


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