Welcome to my new tradition: reviewing books off my usual beaten path if there's a fifth Thursday in a given month. These are things that I read years ago or have been meaning to read since high school, older stuff that does something different. Normally I like to stay within the past decade to up your odds of seeing it on the shelves next time you hit the bookstore, but it's definitely worth trying to hunt down some of the older stuff, in part because it's not so bogged down in contemporary trends. This week I'm reviewing Daughter of the Empire, a book I read for the first time when I was twelve or thirteen and studiously ignoring everyone else in my cabin at summer camp. There aren't really any spoilers here that aren't in the text on the back of the book, but I do occasionally go into more detail than that.
The quick and dirty:
Rating: 4 stars
Publication: May 1, 1988 from Spectra
Premise: Mara of the Acoma is beginning a ceremony to take religious vows and renounce the outside world when a messenger arrives to tell her that her father and brother are dead, leaving her as the sole heir of her House. The most powerful House in the empire arranged their deaths, and unless she can navigate the tangled intrigues in the Great Game of the Council, she, along with her house's history and advisers, will be next. Though tradition is the cornerstone of her people's safety and honor, she must learn to bend it for good if she has any hope of survival.
Warnings: Non-graphic sexual violence (pain, bruises, and minor hitting). This encounter isn't technically rape in context, but in some ways the dynamic is similar.
Recommendation: While it's not the pinnacle of perfection that my younger self remembered it being, this one is a still a great read with a protagonist who gets pulled into things sideways and then earns every victory that she finds.