Empire's Daughter by Marian Thorpe

So let’s start with an admission on my part: I’ve never actually read a historical fantasy before. I love magical realism, but I find the world-building and all the rules in fantasies to be a little too confusing and tedious; I tend to like my fiction set closer to the real world. (To give you an idea, “Field of Dreams” is my favorite movie.) For that reason, I tend to read mostly realistic fiction and “regular” historical fiction, but I decided to give Marian’s trilogy a try for IndieApril.

And now as I am finishing book three (and getting around to reviewing book one), I am glad I did.

I really loved this book that takes place in an alternative version of ancient Britain. Well-done first-person past tense is my favorite point of view to read, and this novel grabbed me from the get-go. The writing is top-notch, the world is fully realized, and the characters kept my interest throughout. There are thought-provoking points made throughout the story about gender roles, war, societal compliance, family, and loyalty. The amount of research, time, and energy that had to have gone into creating this novel is truly staggering to think about.

Yet it was always accessible. I never felt disoriented or confused or had to page back to figure out what was going on. If you shy away from fantasy because you’re not a huge fan of world-building, this book is set in a world close enough to our own that you won’t feel disoriented or lost.

Recommended for: Readers who like books written in the meticulous, historical fiction style, but want to expand their horizons a bit to read a novel set in an alternative “universe.”