Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 4.5 STARS
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.
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.
Unless I am terribly mistaken (which in all honesty is highly probable) this book, while being the second in the series, is a prequel of sorts to the first. And I really, really liked it. I'm convinced I enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed the first but that may be because it's been so long since I've read City of a Thousand Dolls. This world s just so interesting and different. It has this class system that reminds me of ancient class systems but also has magic and this crazy barrier thing that reminds me of the movie Stardust (which I'm convinced almost no one I know has ever seen). Honestly this world is just so different and the characters so interesting and real that you just get lost in it. Speaking of characters....
MARA. She. Is. So. COOL! I can't even explain it to you because spoilers but she is just the greatest. She is so smart and strong and brave. Mara does all these crazy, amazing things that just blew my mind. And she always kept me guessing. Sometimes (always) you sit there reading and plot out how you think the story will go in your mind and how the characters react and sometimes (like 40%) you are right, or at least somewhat right. For this book I was literally always wrong. I was wrong every time except for once. I even remember exactly what it was I was right about because it shocked me so much. Mara's POV is so fun to read from, AND SHE CAN TURN INTO AN ANIMAL! I'm not going to say anymore because I think that may have already been a spoiler and I hope that you will go read the book so you can see it all for yourself.
Now, Emil. I'm not really sure why he isn't mentioned in the goodreads summary because this book is dual POV. Emil is really steady. In all the places that Mara is rash and volatile Emil is calm and careful. He (usually) thinks things through and is this great, wonderful, constant in a pretty rocky world. And he doesn't judge people, he just accepts them and moves on. However, that does not mean he still isn't devious and cunning when he needs to be. All in all Emil is a very good (and hot, have I mentioned that yet? Because he is.) balance for Mara. Someone she can rely on through most of her crazy adventures.
So basically you should all read this book, especially if you like fantasy. The characters are all so unpredictable and strong and amazing, while the plot is moderately fast paced and gripping. If you haven't read City of a Thousand Dolls yet you should read that too because it was gooooooddddd. I have nothing more to say. Happy readings. BYEEEEEE