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The Will of the Empress

The Will of the Empress

Written by Tamora Pierce

Narrated by Tamora Pierce and Full Cast


The Will of the Empress

Written by Tamora Pierce

Narrated by Tamora Pierce and Full Cast

ratings:
4/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2007
ISBN:
9781933322414
Format:
Audiobook

Description

For years, the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire's borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible.

Now, Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit. Sandry's uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they're hardly a group of warriors! They're her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They've grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn't sure they'll ever find their old connection again, or if she even wants them to.

Tamora Pierce returns to the world of Circle of Magic for this smashing novel, which brings the four young mages back together as teens.

Suspense! Court intrigue! Romance! Fights! All the things that you love about Tamora Pierce's books are here in abundance.

©2006 Tamora Pierce; (P)2006 Full Cast Audio

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2007
ISBN:
9781933322414
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Beloved author Tamora Pierce has written a great number of books, including The Song of the Lioness quartet, The Immortals quartet, The Circle of Magic quartet, The Protector of the Small quartet, The Circle Opens quartet, the Trickster series, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones, and the Beka Cooper series.  She lives in New York and can be visited at TamoraPierce.com.


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Reviews

What people think about The Will of the Empress

4.2
39 ratings / 26 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I originally reviewed this book on my blog - The Cosy Dragon. For more recent reviews by me, please hop over there.Briar, Daja, Tris and Sandry have each gone their own ways, and have now all returned to Winding Circle. But Winding Circle can not longer keep them - they are 18, and have reached the age of their majority. When Sandry's uncle suggests that the other three accompany Sandry to her family holdings, it seems like a chance for the circle to be reformed.The Empress is determined to court the four powerful mages and get them to stay with her. Things aren't as rosy as they appear though, and various things conspire that Sandry soon finds herself wishing for home, even as the other three find things that they like in the Empire!Once again, this book's third person narration swaps between each of the four characters. Pierce makes it work really well, and it adds a further sense of continuity for the four characters. The character development is relatively obvious, as the four settle back into their relationships. Each of them has changed, but they are still able to connect and bicker as they once did. This is one of the real strengths of the novel, which takes me to read it time and time again.Briar's time away and how Luvo appears is something I'd really like to know more about. My suggestion for why Pierce hasn't written about this is that it would possibly make the storyline too adult. I know that Pierce is planning a book where Tris goes to Lightsbridge, but I'm not sure if she is going to fill in any more of the time between ages 14 and 18.Something that irritated me was the constant explaining of what a 'kid' and a 'mate' were. Perhaps in other countries, it's not obvious that these terms refer to children and good friends, but to me, I knew what they were, and I didn't need reminding! This was something that annoyed me a little in reading the other books of this series as well.I would like to comment both positively and negatively for the specific inclusion of a gay/queer subplot in this novel. I'm happy that one has been included, and the idea is treated quite sensitively, but I'm not so impressed with who turns out to be lesbian. It's a far too obvious choice to me, and seems to be playing to the stereotype of connecting sexuality and job choice. I won't further spoil this for you, but it's something I had to mention.I hesitat to tag this book as queer, as some people would interpret this to mean that the entire book is about a queer character, but it really isn't. I also wanted to label it with dragons, because Chime shows up again, but it is really a very minor role. Also, I could possibly tag it with depression, because one of the characters (not of the main four) has had several suicide attempts, but again, it's not a focus of the novel.I'd recommend this book, and the other eight books that came before this one, to children and teens alike. Please read them all in order! This one does stand alone, but really, why miss out on the story from before? It's relatively family friendly, with some hints of violence and also of courtship. Some people may not be comfortable with the queer aspect, but I didn't find it at all offensive.
  • (5/5)
    I just re-read this book. I really love the circle books with their odd magic. And this one was better than I remembered it. I have just taken it from 4 to 5 stars. I strongly recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    An excellent rounding out to the two previous Circle quartets. I do hope we get to see more of these stories, since there are still a lot of things to explore in this world.
  • (1/5)
    I was so disappointed with each of the characters...
  • (4/5)
    Really good engrossing read. I was trying to figure out what this has over and above other Pierce books and though I'm not sure I've definitely figured it, I think it's the characters that I particularly like. Her other books also have good strong characters of course, but I think I just really like these four people more and more the more I read about them.
  • (4/5)
    Previously read, but listened to the CD edition from Full Cast Audio - I absolutely loved this book. There were times I didn't want to get out of my car so that I could keep listening. I think it's some revisionist history that Lark and Rosethorn are a couple, but also sort of an interesting development. I only wish that Pierce could write faster so I could know sooner what happens next to Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar.
  • (4/5)
    Sandry must travel north to take care of her property there and Briar, Daja, and Tris travel with her. In Namorn, she's seen as a prize to collect and little more than property, and the Empress is set on collecting her friends for her empire as well.I enjoyed seeing this quartet grown up and finding their connection again. I thought the Daja romance was handled sweetly. While the court life definitely sounded insufferable, I was able to enjoy almost all of the new characters without having to like them. It was nice to get to a book in the series for a bit older audience, but it actually had the least of amount of violent content so far (not to belittle the domestic violence in this book, but all of the others in the series have involved multiple gruesome murders). I hope we get to continue to follow these four in the future.
  • (5/5)
    The characters from the original "Circle of Magic" series are reunited after two years. Daja, Tris, Sandry, and Briar are not as close as they once were, though they have come into their powers and matured. Each has learned new skills and made strides in self-discovery, and now they have secrets. A crisis arises, and they journey to Namorn together to keep Sandry's lands from being confiscated by the empress. In order to accomplish that goal, they will have to open up and band together once again. The reintroduction of the characters feels slightly rushed because of the backstory included of necessity, but once the friends' new adventure begins, the pacing becomes more reasonable. Machinations and revelations keep the reader enthralled in the adventure, then anticipating the next installment. Previous readers of the series will eagerly reunite with the quartet, empathizing with their frustrations with the changes in their simple childhood friendships, and new readers will be eager to learn each character's backstory. Ages 12-16. Recommended purchase.
  • (4/5)
    I greatly enjoy Tamora Pierce's young adult high fantasies. They always feature active, strong female characters. I prefer the books based in Tortall, particularly the Protector of the Small series with Keladry, the two Trickster books with Aly and the Beka Cooper books. But I grew to love the characters of the Circle books, Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. The series is unusual in Pierce's oeuvre for having a male protagonist, Briar, in one of the books, and the second quartet of books where each goes out into the world separately, The Circle Opens books, are a match for anything in Tortall. In this book the circle of friends who had drifted apart are reunited, and I liked how Pierce captured the awkwardness and unease among the four who had once been so close and who find they have to forge themselves together again. The issues each has, separate and apart is presented well, the world building and magic imaginative and original. It's also unusual, in this book, even within Pierce's works and certainly in Young Adult, for having a sympathetic lesbian character. I rather liked the picture of the Empress in this novel, who reminds me of a combination of Elizabeth I of England and Catherine the Great of Russia.
  • (3/5)
    The Circle of Magic quartet is aimed at a younger audience than any of Pierce's other books, and are fun books about four children coming into their magical powers. The following quartet, The Circle Opens, shows the four protagonists older and dealing with more heady plots. While the first four books are pulpy fun, the second four are some of my favorite books out of all that Pierce has written. The Will of the Empress is the sequel to the second quartet, and I was hoping that the progression would continue, with even richer characterization of the four heroes, facing even deeper dangers than before.Unfortunately, Empress came across just as mediocre. The characters were older, and while I liked some of what Pierce did with them, other parts fell flat. Her depiction of childhood friends coming back together as young adults was pretty good--their reunion was not as rosy as anyone had hoped, and the entire plot of the book centered around the solidification of their friendship again. Briar was obviously dealing with some serious personal demons, which worked well; Daja, however, lacked the personality and soul I'd grown to love. I appreciated the subplot of her discovering her sexuality (--of course she's interested in women! It makes so much sense!), but didn't like that the only thing that Daja did at all in this book was fall in love and act like a twitterpated fool. Come on, what happened to her strength, and her fire? Why is she such a background character here?And why, oh why, is the major plot so boring? A politician wants to keep Sandry in her ancestral country, for political reasons, and Sandry has to fend off suitors who wish to marry her, or kidnap her and force her to marry them. Come on--after the serious threats faced in the previous quartet, all the young mages have to face this time around are long and boring scenes of political intrigue?Perhaps I'm being too harsh--I enjoyed it, as a Pierce novel, and I love the characters in this particular world of hers and will continue reading books about them as long as she keeps writing them. But this one is not the most memorable.
  • (4/5)
    Well I was pretty stupid and read the last one first, not realising there were 4 before it. And even stupider when I realised I actually owned the other four. So I'm reading the end before the beginning. I quite enjoyed it, though. But I think it would have made a lot more sense to me if I had read the first four before I read that one, because I got confused in some places of the book. And I felt it dragged a little. All in all, though, it was good.
  • (4/5)
    Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar are together again, but not as close as they had been before their travels. It's been a long time since I'd read the other books, but as usual Tamora Pierce drew me in. It's frustrating to see her plucky, smart heroines and hero constantly rejecting the obvious, but perhaps this is part of growing up, for them. Add in more interesting characters, politics, and magic and you've got another interesting tale set in the Circle world. Worth a read for fans of the series, others should probably start at Sandry's Book and meet the characters at the beginning of their tales.
  • (5/5)
    As with all of Tamora Pierce's novels, the characters are well-developed. The plot is in-depth, and the entire book is just absolutely amazing. Every teenager should read these books.
  • (4/5)
    After 2 quartets dealing with our singular mages, this was in a sense disappointing because it was only one book. The 4 mages, after many years spent apart and much growing in those years, are re-united at last. But all is not well. Their travels abroad have made Daja, Tris and Briar feel alienated from Sandry, much as they still love her, they are trying to protect each other from the experiences they each had in the past. They are forced to reunite however, during a trip north to Namorn. Sandry has been summoned by her cousin, Empress of Namorn, and must do her duty on her family's land - and escape the grasping clutches of her cousin.
  • (5/5)
    First of all, I LOVE Tamora Pierce's books. Her world (Tortall and its surrounding areas) is fantastically well-developed, and the characters are very distinct. She also writes consistently strong female characters (in traditionally male situations), and her writing is simply impeccable.This one is no exception. The Will of the Empress picks up the stories of the four friends we first met in Pierce's Circle Quartet. They're young adults now, and the changes and challenges they face have also grown up. The story includes castle/court intrigue, love, suspense and adventure. READ IT! : )
  • (3/5)
    "The Circle Universe" in one way feels like it is aimed at an age group just below Pierce's usual -- the books read younger with much more exposition and simpler plots. This works well in the shortish novels of the quartets "Circle of Magic" and "The Circle Opens", but backfires a bit in "The Will of the Empress" because there are long stretches of nothing much happening except Pierce explaining the background. "Will" also includes a romance between two young women; Pierce is known for introducing characters with complicated romances many would consider unsuitable for a juvenile novel.After three members of the Circle go roaming in distant lands, they finally reunite at Winding Circle. Sandry, however, is dismayed to find that the travelers refuse to open up their minds to her or to each other. All of the Circle have been through traumatic times, even Sandry, and they're reluctant to burden their friends with their experiences. Despite not being entirely comfortable with each other, Sandry must travel to Namorn to present herself to the Empress and her uncle prevails upon the Circle to travel together and keep her safe. In Namorn the Empress is determined to keep the Circle in her Empire. Of course, the Circle is just as determined to return home. Romance, magic, and adventures keep the Circle apart at first and it seems all is lost. As the Namorn threats escalate, the Circle must figure out a way to resist this willful Empress.
  • (3/5)
    I like it and I don't. It's noticeably better than the other Circle books, but has a lot of the same flaws - too many separate stories going on at once, with not enough time to focus on any one of them. And the final conflict, the climax of the story, is a bit of a let-down.
  • (4/5)
    The four children - now young adults - are back together in a reforging of the Circle of Magic. Sandry has to go see her cousin, the Empress of Namorn and the other three go along with her to help her. During their stay, their bond is reinforced. Great addition to the Circle of Magic world.
  • (5/5)
    Will of the Empress is a good start to the new Circle series. Like all Tamara Pierce novels it is well written with fun and quirky characters who know what they want and go get it. As an adult reader the circle series seem a little younger in tone then some of Pierces other series, but they are all still worth the read. If you are new to Pierce I would not start here as you are missing a lot of back story, but when you finally get to reading this one you'll like it a lot.
  • (3/5)
    Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar are all together again but things are not the same. It makes sense, they've been apart for over a year and experienced different things. I can't say I loved this book but it wasn't bad either.
  • (4/5)
    I like thick books. Really, I do. But I feel that the book could've used a little trimming. It felt like there were too many sub-plots, which usually just stalled the main arc's movement. I also could have done with fewer POVs--these seem to be Pierce's newest *shiny* writing device. (See Terrier for similar, but more restrained use.)

    But despite the minor quibbles, this book is by far one of Pierce's best.
  • (3/5)
    When they were just children, Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja linked their magics and became a nigh-unstoppable force. They became mages at the unprecedentedly early age of 13, and split up to explore the world. Now 18, they are finally together once more. But their old intimacy is gone: years apart have made them reticent to join their minds as they once did, and old wounds and insecurities have damaged their friendship. This is a particularly dangerous time to be unlinked, however, because they are now in the Namorn court, and the Empress doesn't intend to let any of them leave.

    I loved reading about these characters again, but the plot felt a little thin, and Tris/Sandry/Daja/Briar's insecurities a little contrived. The one thing I did like was that Sandry gives up her lands and titles in Namorn in order to keep the people there safe. It was a completely unexpected way to solve her problem. I'm so used to characters acquiring more and more power and respect as their series progresses, that to see a character let hers go dumbfounded me. It's not my favorite book about these characters, but only because the other ones were so good.
  • (5/5)
    I am a big Tamora Pierce fan, and I have to say that The Circle of Magic and its following series, the Circle Opens, may be some of my favorite books by her. So I was glad that she brought the same cast of characters back. IN this story, they are reunited and all grown up. Lots of magic and political intrigue make for a great story. You'll love spending time with Sandry, Briar, Daja, and Tris.
  • (4/5)
    I really liked this, although it was my introduction to the Circle of Magic books. There was enough context and backstory woven through that I got the gist. As ever, I really like what Tamora Pierce does with magic and culture in her fantasy novels, and with interesting, strong characters, especially the female ones. I wish she'd write more in the Tortall universe.

    I never read the books leading up to this- but I was able to get the characters and key events by context. Might go back and try reading the Circle of Magic, though I get the sense it's the kind of thing that works better when you're reading for the first time as a tween.

    And it definitely passed the Stayed Up Too Late Reading test.
  • (1/5)
    A dip in Tamora Pierce's writing, this seems like a simple rehashing of all her feminist views from the Tortal quartets without any new plot twists. I was highly disappointed.
  • (4/5)
    It's a rich story, with references to events in the Circle Opens quartet throughout. And it's nice seeing the four of them working together again (eventually!). But I can't say I got the impression that they had matured - they behave quite childishly toward one another, while constantly asserting that they're 'grown up' now. Sigh. It's fun, I'm glad I read it, but it felt like they were coming full circle - at the end of this book, they have re-achieved what they had at the end of the first Circle quartet. Maybe a _little_ more, but I don't see a lot of progress. It'll be interesting to see later books, with them as secondary characters (Melting Stones they really don't show up at all).On a reread - I like it better. They re-achieve what they had as children, while establishing/maintaining their adult selves. They all learn more about themselves and the others, plus things about those around them - Sandry about Ambros, for instance, and all of them about Zhegorz. I'd still like to see later stories, though.