I’ve been slacking off lately on writing blog posts and so now I’m really behind on reviews and general posts that I usually do monthly. I’m definitely spending most of my available blogging time on my instagram and interacting there, so maybe I should also post my reviews there? My posts on my instagram certainly get more interactions than my blog does, it seems that people don’t come to view blogs much anymore!
Empire of Exiles
by Erin M Evans
Series: Books of the Usurper #1
Release date: November 8th, 2022
Twenty-seven years ago, a Duke with a grudge led a ruthless coup against the empire of Semilla, killing thousands. He failed. The Duke was executed, a terrifyingly powerful sorcerer was imprisoned, and an unwilling princess disappeared.
The empire moved on.
Now, when Quill, an apprentice scribe, arrives in the capital city, he believes he’s on a simple errand for another pompous noble: fetch ancient artifacts from the magical Imperial Archives. He’s always found his apprenticeship to a lawman to be dull work. But these aren’t just any artifacts — these are the instruments of revolution, the banners under which the Duke lead his coup.
Just as the artifacts are unearthed, the city is shaken by a brutal murder that seems to have been caused by a weapon not seen since the days of rebellion. With Quill being the main witness to the murder, and no one in power believing his story, he must join the Archivists — a young mage, a seasoned archivist, and a disillusioned detective — to solve the truth of the attack. And what they uncover will be the key to saving the empire – or destroying it again.
I have to say, I was a little nervous when I started reading this one because it was a lot of info and characters right at the beginning that wasn’t sure if I would be able to catch up and understand what was happening, but I’m happy to say that that feeling dissipated quite quickly! I enjoyed learning about the magic system and how it seems to mostly be used in the archives and how there is a downside to having magic, with being in alignment.
I also very much enjoyed the murder mystery aspect and how it relates to events that happened in the past in this world and how this mystery pulls a group of people together into a found family. I loved Quill and Yinii the most, and I can’t wait to explore more of Yinii’s story in the second book because it seems like it’s going to be really interesting!
The setting of the Empire of Semilla is really interesting because it’s a melting pot of all these different races and cultures since a ton of kingdoms fled there after changelings appeared and started causing havoc. They built a wall out of salt around the Empire which kept the changelings out, and so each kingdom has its own section of the empire where its people live.
I will say that I’m a bit confused about how the changelings and the coup connect, because there’s clearly something else going on there. The flashbacks that we get to the Duke after he was caught really only made me more confused as to what was going on and I don’t feel like I got any answers. I’m sure that will come in book 2, but I wish that there were even just a few answers to leave me satisfied with that plot line before having to wait for book 2. That’s really my only ‘negative’ for this book, and it’s pretty small compared to how much I enjoyed the rest of the book.
Definitely looking forward to book 2, and if you’re looking for a fantasy with a good murder mystery, I highly recommend giving this one a shot!