The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1)
Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors' treacherous imperial court.The Emperor's palace -- full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils -- is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people's good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden's blade to protect herself -- and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace.But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes' deadly schemes for the throne -- and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins...The Throne of the Five Winds is the first installment of the Hostage of Empire series, an intricate and ruthless East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and K. Arsenault Rivera.

The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1) Details

TitleThe Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 15th, 2019
PublisherOrbit
ISBN-139780316436946
Rating
GenreFantasy

The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1) Review

  • Christi M
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this rich, complex story, which is filled with what feels like a multitude of characters that each have their own motives and purpose within the story. The Throne of the Five Winds is simply beautifully written and one I whole-heartedly recommend.Thoughts:Oh my goodness – this book is long. 704 pages long. I’m not used to reading for hours and not be 10% into a book. Well, truthfully, it took a bit longer at the beginning because of the overall complexity of the book and s/> I absolutely loved this rich, complex story, which is filled with what feels like a multitude of characters that each have their own motives and purpose within the story. The Throne of the Five Winds is simply beautifully written and one I whole-heartedly recommend.Thoughts:Oh my goodness – this book is long. 704 pages long. I’m not used to reading for hours and not be 10% into a book. Well, truthfully, it took a bit longer at the beginning because of the overall complexity of the book and sheer number of characters. The first few chapters switched between the different locations and characters and I had to learn how to keep it all straight – for example, when someone was referenced in chapter 4 or 5, I needed to go back and see what was said about them in chapter 2 to put all the pieces together in my mind. For this reason, the first several chapters were not ones where I could put down the book and pick it back up later and immediately know where I was in the story. However, once I figured out who the 2 queens, 2 concubines, 6 princes, 1 adopted-son/prince, and 2 princesses were plus the characters from Khir, it became a much easier read.In The Thone of the Five Winds, there are three main characters: Yala – a noble lady who agrees to be Princess Mahara of Khir’s lady-in -waiting as she goes to Zhoan to marry Crown Prince Takeyo. Kai – General of Zhoan and adopted son of Second Concubine Kanbina, and third prince Takshin – a son who had been sent at a young age to another kingdom to serve under a Mad Queen.Within the kingdom of Zhaon, Emperor Tamuron’s wives and various sons play games as they jockey for power. Some of these games are very subtle – where they might say something that sounds pretty benign to me and yet mean a huge insult to another character. But some are not subtle – there are poisonings and multiple assassination attempts. As a lady-in-waiting, Yala must work through all the politics and slights to ensure Princess Mahara’s honor and dignity remains intact. It is in this where you find what the main story centers around.At the end of the book it comes to a conclusion where you can see the author’s handiwork in getting it setup rather nicely for the next book in the series. It concludes with multiple plot points to pick up where we leave off in this one as well as heightened tensions that you can see coming, but are not there yet. Overall I really, really enjoyed this Asia-inspired fantasy book. I truly appreciated it’s maturity level and its seriousness. Sometimes you want to read a light-hearted fantasy that has a more modern feel to it and then there are times when you don’t – where political games are done very subtly. It took a while to read through, but what I enjoyed was how excited I was to get back to it every chance I got. I am really looking forward to the next in the series.Rating: 5 starsThanks to Netgalley and Orbit Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this ebook from the author, Orbitz publishing, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Yala Komor has been chosen to be Princess Mahara's lady in waiting who is to be married to a prince in the land of Zhaon. Once there, they try to fit it only to be targeted by assassins and more. Can they survive this cruel land? Read on and find out for yourself.This was a pretty good historical fantasy fiction. If you like these types of stories, be su I received a free copy of this ebook from the author, Orbitz publishing, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Yala Komor has been chosen to be Princess Mahara's lady in waiting who is to be married to a prince in the land of Zhaon. Once there, they try to fit it only to be targeted by assassins and more. Can they survive this cruel land? Read on and find out for yourself.This was a pretty good historical fantasy fiction. If you like these types of stories, be sure to check this book out. It is now available to own in bookstores everywhere.
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  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    Simply beautiful, seeped in tradition, seamlessly flowing court life with its never-ending intrigue. The characters in this book are so distinct one from the other, each one so nicely developing, with such (sometimes) restrained ways about them that speak so well of their times and manners. And while some might not enjoy the slow pacing and developing of a novel as large as this one, I found that to be one of its most enjoyable aspects. It allowed me to fully explore every little nook and cranny Simply beautiful, seeped in tradition, seamlessly flowing court life with its never-ending intrigue. The characters in this book are so distinct one from the other, each one so nicely developing, with such (sometimes) restrained ways about them that speak so well of their times and manners. And while some might not enjoy the slow pacing and developing of a novel as large as this one, I found that to be one of its most enjoyable aspects. It allowed me to fully explore every little nook and cranny of this story and wish for more.ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Bob
    January 1, 1970
    The Throne of the Five Winds is a big book. A big, thick, dense book that’s overflowing with key characters, scattered locations, and tangled relationships. It’s neither an easy read to get into nor a quick one. As beautifully written as it is, and as strong as the characters are, it still took me a couple of hundred pages to become comfortable with the story – but it all pays off eloquently in the final pages.The politics and family drama here rival anything to be found in epic fant The Throne of the Five Winds is a big book. A big, thick, dense book that’s overflowing with key characters, scattered locations, and tangled relationships. It’s neither an easy read to get into nor a quick one. As beautifully written as it is, and as strong as the characters are, it still took me a couple of hundred pages to become comfortable with the story – but it all pays off eloquently in the final pages.The politics and family drama here rival anything to be found in epic fantasy and it all begins with an Emperor whose disregard for the women in his life starts a tumbling of political dominoes. Queens and princes, wives and brothers, they’re all plotting and scheming, playing off one another with silvered tongues and poisoned kisses – not to mention assassination attempts and actual poisonings. You need a scorecard to keep track, but as you get deeper into the story and more familiar with the characters, the entertainment value of those conflicts increases significantly.Mahara and Yala are the heart of the story, and that relationship between hostage princess and loyal lady-in-waiting is the best-developed one in the novel. They are genuine, with an emotional back-story, and it’s easy to believe in the loyalty they feel for one another. Standing in contrast to the two is Queen Gamwone, a cruel, foul, deplorable woman who is something of a guilty pleasure every time she appears on the page. Her cruelty to her children doesn’t just illuminate their characters, it defines them, creating sympathy and empathy that cracks open the density of the narrative.Politically and geographically, S. C. Emmett has crafted an Asia-inspired fantasy and the world-building behind it stands up to the political maneuvering in front of it. Customs, morals, and languages are so well-defined that innocuous terms and comments for one character are amusing or offensive for others, and mistakes in translation are realistically common.If I were to have any complaints, it would be that The Throne of the Five Winds is far more heavily character/relationship focused, and a sometimes light on the complexities of plot. I would have preferred that it start before the end of hostilities, partly to inject some action into the plot, and partly to give the political sacrifices more significance.https://femledfantasy.home.blog/2019/...
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    After some initial doubtsI was pulled in and ended up finding The Throne to be a terrific read. Looking forward to volume 2.It’s been awhile, and I forgot to add: received as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review.
  • WS_BOOKCLUB
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on October 15th.Admission: I judged a book based on its cover. The cover is incredible and immediately piqued my interest. That it’s a politically-charged fantasy didn’t hurt either. Beautifully written, if a bit dense, this east-Asian inspired fantasy was the only of its kind I’ve read this year.It took me quite a while to become invested in this book. I Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on October 15th.Admission: I judged a book based on its cover. The cover is incredible and immediately piqued my interest. That it’s a politically-charged fantasy didn’t hurt either. Beautifully written, if a bit dense, this east-Asian inspired fantasy was the only of its kind I’ve read this year.It took me quite a while to become invested in this book. I was almost halfway through, and considering not finishing, before I found myself interested in the story. There’s that much setup. The pacing was much slower than with many fantasies, and takes some getting used to.The writing was flowery, which alternated between annoying and impressing me. What can I say: sometimes I’m hard to please. That being said, I am of the opinion that if I had cloistered myself away for a few days and read this book straight through, I would have enjoyed it more. The subtle chess-like moves made throughout this book were very well done and it’s apparent that the author has an intricate plan for the series and knows exactly where everything is going.My biggest complaint is less of a complaint than an observation: it was really difficult to keep track of all the characters for the first bit. Next time I pick up a book of this scope, I’ll write down character names and relationships if there isn’t a glossary of characters in the book.If you like slow-building books, political intrigue, and flowing language, this is a fantasy to read.
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    Two queens? Two concubines? Six princes? East Asia inspired fantasy?? For fans of GRRM?! Here's my soul and I'm ready to give it away for this book.
  • Ben Babcock
    January 1, 1970
    It isn’t often that a book wins me over like The Throne of the Five Winds did! I usually know my general sentiment towards a book within the first fifty pages or so. My mood will change for better or worse as the story unfolds, and a 2-star book might make it to 3 or vice versa, and once in a while, a 4- or 5-star book plummets to 1 star because of an unforgivable sin. When I began this book, which I received as an eARC from Orbit and NetGalley, I was not feeling it.Moreover, I really dislike it when someone tri It isn’t often that a book wins me over like The Throne of the Five Winds did! I usually know my general sentiment towards a book within the first fifty pages or so. My mood will change for better or worse as the story unfolds, and a 2-star book might make it to 3 or vice versa, and once in a while, a 4- or 5-star book plummets to 1 star because of an unforgivable sin. When I began this book, which I received as an eARC from Orbit and NetGalley, I was not feeling it.Moreover, I really dislike it when someone tries to sell me a series by saying “for fans of Game of Thrones.” Because, like it or not, Game of Thrones is mainstream now. It’s like saying “for fans of Harry Potter” or “for fans of Marvel movies”—that’s not a useful category any more. And I honestly don’t think this book is very much like Game of Thrones, for many reasons, but hey, that’s not what this review is about.Lady Komor Yala (house name, first name) has been sent from her home country of Khir to Zhaon. She accompanies her princess, Mahara, who is a bride and tribute to the Crown Prince of Zhaon following Khir’s rout at the battle of the Three Rivers. Yala and Mahara are alone in Zhaon, with no other Khir around them, forced to adapt to a strange culture. There are 6 princes of Zhaon, from 3 different women—two queens and a concubine. A second concubine of the emperor has adopted a son, General Zakkar Kai, who is unpopular with some because of his humble origins. Yala and Mahara barely have time to catch their breath before the latter is wedded and the assassination attempts begin.People are going to tell you this book is long. Boy is it ever—but I don’t see that as a particular stumbling block, and I don’t think that’s even what those commenters are really picking up on. Sure, it’s long, and we could discuss how the story might be streamlined. But perhaps what we’re actually noticing is that almost all of the scenes in this book are two-handers, or perhaps three-handers in a pinch. There are certainly some larger crowd scenes, often action scenes. Yet so much of this book comprises private conversations between two characters, often involving intrigue veiled behind courtesy. That’s why this book feels longer than it is: everything is embedded within subtext, and so it takes twice as long to say. There is a lot of dialogue but also a lot of stillness, and S.C. Emmett’s description tends towards the poetic, with many quotations from writers in this world and comparisons of people’s movements to calligraphy.Emmett also tends towards the “hard no” side for exposition and is even so hardcore as to put “untranslatable” terms into the book with footnotes explaining their meaning in English. So that adds to the initial learning curve. Frankly, I don’t blame anyone for noping out within the first twenty or fifty pages. It’s not easy to get into this book.But if you persevere, you might decide it’s worth it. The Throne of the Five Winds has so many tropes of fantasy/historical fiction: palace intrigue, succession crises in the making, subtle love triangles, capricious queens and princes, a dying emperor, and assassins lurking behind every arras. Despite this surfeit of tropes, though, the book never feels that clichéd. The cornucopia of characters allows Emmett to wend and wind the plot through this world with a narrative deftness that keeps us on our toes.There are downsides, of course. Another reason I couldn’t get into the book at first is that I didn’t feel invested in any of the initial protagonists. Why did I care about Yala being sent away from her home country? Who is this Kai dude, and why should I care about him and this emperor? Which of these princes am I supposed to care about? Similarly, the antagonists are two-dimensional. We’re supposed to like most of the protagonists and dislike most of the antagonists. Even Takshin, who is a fairly obvious antihero, is supposed to be the “lovable rogue,” in contrast to the Second Prince, Kurin, who is portrayed as an inveterate schemer. Emmett tries to give Queen Gamwone some depth by making it seem like her gambits are merely a way of ensuring the survival of herself and her sons in the limited ways she can as a woman in this world … yet the narrative voice of the book is so biased towards portraying her as a rude, vindictive, and petty woman that this little attempt at balancing the scales is insufficient, to say the least. And as far as the Khir nobility goes … we get, what, 4 scenes with them?In other words, The Throne of the Five Winds has all the intrigue I love in a political fantasy novel. Nevertheless, it is still quite messy in some ways, and its characterization is shiny yet not always substantial. Emmet’s writing is beautiful in most cases, particularly as we watch Yala grow in her appreciation of her new home. I recommended this book to a coworker who enjoys reading sprawling court epics.
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  • Marvelous Bookish Tomes
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with the ARC. This was one of my most anticipated releases and I am so glad I got to read it! Great read! Will read more from this author in the future!
  • Traci
    January 1, 1970
    Find this and other reviews at The Reader in IndigoIf you're looking for bloody battles or magical duels or epic quests . . . look further, cause this is definitely not the book for you. There is no magic here, no quests (unless you consider 'trying to stay alive in a palace with more assassins per capita than there are bankers in Manhattan' to be a quest), and the only (physical) battles end well before our narrative begins. But if you, like me, find court intrigue absolutely riveting, then Find this and other reviews at The Reader in IndigoIf you're looking for bloody battles or magical duels or epic quests . . . look further, cause this is definitely not the book for you. There is no magic here, no quests (unless you consider 'trying to stay alive in a palace with more assassins per capita than there are bankers in Manhattan' to be a quest), and the only (physical) battles end well before our narrative begins. But if you, like me, find court intrigue absolutely riveting, then oh god do I have the book for you.The newly-reconstituted Empire of Zhaon, the Land of the Five Winds, has just defeated its fierce neighbor Khir in battle. As part of the surrender terms, the Great Rider of Khir's only daughter has been dispatched to marry the Crown Prince of Zhaon, accompanied only by a single (quite fierce) lady-in-waiting. The two women must navigate a palace that's less a snake pit than a bloody, shark-filled ocean, as the Emperor's health worsens, his six sons (and their mothers) vie for power, and enemies beyond their borders begin to plot.The writing here is absolutely superb. This is a very long book (the first of a series), with a decently large cast of characters, but at no point did I ever have trouble remembering who was who, who was allied with whom, etc. And the author is one of those truly gifted writers whose prose I can just fall into; her language has cadence, rhythm, depth---beauty to spare. Her scenes are exquisitely crafted, conversations with double meanings crafted so brilliantly I was literally in awe, each word honed to absolute perfection. Fans of books like The Goblin Emperor, or political/court drama in general (or even regency romances---the romance factor here is clear and present, though never overdone) will find a lot to love here. (But with way more assassination attempts. Seriously, there is a ridiculous amount of assassination attempts in this book.) This is a book I'll probably be pulling out to comfort-read on rainy days for years to come, and I'm really excited for the sequel.(As an aside, it's mentioned in the back extras that S.C. Emmett is a pseudonym for Lilith Saintcrow. Never in a million years would I have guessed that! I've read some of her other works--some I liked a lot, others that weren't my cup of tea--and this is definitely the most ambitious writing, worldbuilding-wise, I think I've seen from her yet.)Overall: highly, highly recommended.A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Iona
    January 1, 1970
    To be fair to this book, I think that I just had entirely wrong timing for it. It's mid October, I am a college student (which goes without saying that I'm depressed and overwhelmed and stretched thin... gotta love college life #thisisacryforhelp), and this book is headache inducing and honest-to-God just another stressor in my life. I get what the author was trying to do with it--and I'll likely update this review and come back to this book in the summertime, or a time where I feel I have the e To be fair to this book, I think that I just had entirely wrong timing for it. It's mid October, I am a college student (which goes without saying that I'm depressed and overwhelmed and stretched thin... gotta love college life #thisisacryforhelp), and this book is headache inducing and honest-to-God just another stressor in my life. I get what the author was trying to do with it--and I'll likely update this review and come back to this book in the summertime, or a time where I feel I have the energy to decipher these characters, but reading this book at this point in my life was just a burden. This isn't a light read, and it isn't particularly enjoyable either. What I mean by that is that I do love a good Asian-inspired political web book (I'm literally OBSESSED with Steel Crow Saga), but what Steel Crow Saga has that this lacks is an attachment to the characters. The Throne of the Five Wings is heavy focused on plot and character-webs, but not so much the characterization or heart I should say. This book is for a specific audience; I think you might enjoy a lot if these complicated political stories are your cup of tea. But at this point in my life, I'm reading to escape stressors and to enjoy myself, and this book was offering the opposite. With that said, please comment and let me know what you felt about the story. I'd love to hear if someone responded to it differently than me!
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    This was an incredible book. There's six princes fighting for the throne, as mentioned into the book summary blurb, along with a lot of women, some of whom are smarter and just generally more awesome than some of the princes. The political aspects of this fantasy world are well explained without being boring as are various relationships of many forms between characters. It's quite a long read and since it's the first book in a planned series, there are some slow points where people are being int This was an incredible book. There's six princes fighting for the throne, as mentioned into the book summary blurb, along with a lot of women, some of whom are smarter and just generally more awesome than some of the princes. The political aspects of this fantasy world are well explained without being boring as are various relationships of many forms between characters. It's quite a long read and since it's the first book in a planned series, there are some slow points where people are being introduced and this world is being explained but it's all necessary to understand the story. Overall, an excellent book, one that I understand the comparison to GRRM even though it's not the same by any means. S.C. Emmett is a pseudonym for Lilith Saintcrow so if you've liked her books, I think you'll like this too.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    After Khir is conquered by Zhaon, the Great Rider’s daughter Mahara is sent to be the Crown Prince of Zhaon’s wife to secure peace. Komor Yala, Mahara’s friend and lady-in-waiting, is the only one to accompany her and protect her in a potentially hostile country. Seemingly welcomed, Yala quickly learns there are six princes angling for the throne and two queens and two concubines who will do anything to attain glory for their children. Caught in a deadly game, Yala must use all of her training w After Khir is conquered by Zhaon, the Great Rider’s daughter Mahara is sent to be the Crown Prince of Zhaon’s wife to secure peace. Komor Yala, Mahara’s friend and lady-in-waiting, is the only one to accompany her and protect her in a potentially hostile country. Seemingly welcomed, Yala quickly learns there are six princes angling for the throne and two queens and two concubines who will do anything to attain glory for their children. Caught in a deadly game, Yala must use all of her training with a deadly hidden blade to keep her princess safe.The SettingIf you’re looking for fantastic world building, look no further. Emmett really took her time with crafting a world that made sense and and could support the characters and story. Inspired by East Asian cultures, it painted a beautiful, yet deadly world centered on the court of Zhaon. The reader is privy to how the people are entertained, what they wear, what they read and study, and what they eat. It’s a remarkably well-done world that one can easily be immersed in.But as beautiful as the world is, I must admit it took me some time to really immerse myself in it. My Kindle read 11% before I finally caught on to who the main characters were and how they related to each other. The names are foreign, the relationships are different and sometimes hard to follow, and there are “foreign” words peppered throughout (there are footnotes to translate). It all adds great atmosphere, once you can figure everything out.My only other complaint is that there was often too much extraneous detail. By the end of the book, I did not care what this man’s top knot was caged in or what kind of tea that lady preferred. On one hand, it lends a great deal to the world building. It paints the world and the characters as real, but it also felt a little like overkill. Still, I can’t dispute that this was an intriguing world, and it was fun to pick out what was inspired by the East Asian cultures I’m familiar with. Though I did sometimes feel like I was being slapped by a Western hand.The CharactersThe characters felt like a bit of a mixed bag to me. Some were extremely well-done, and others felt a little one note. There are six princes, two queens, two concubines, a general, the Emperor of Zhaon, Lady Yala, Crown Princess Mahara, and the households of each prince, queen, and concubine. Of course it makes sense that not every character can be fleshed out, but sometimes they played a larger role and it would have been nice to see some complexity to their character.Much of the story revolved around Yala. She had the most freedom to move around, so it made sense for the story to be told primarily through her eyes. It was refreshing to not have an overpowering sense of royalty behind her character as it offered a fresh perspective to a court without seeing it through scheming, devious eyes. Yala was always dutiful and poised, but she had a way with people I can’t help but be envious of. I think the only problem I had with her character was that she drew romantic feelings from two men, creating a triangle I didn’t fully enjoy. Still, it offered her protection as she was without any. I just had a problem with a single lady from a neighboring country drawing the attention of two Zhaon men when much of the larger court schemed against Yala and Mahara.The StoryI spent much of the book enjoying the world building, to the extent that it wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I realized the plot was a bit flimsy. Other than a few assassination attempts, all of which felt kind of brushed over in the grand scheme of the story, not much actually happened. Most of the book was centered on exploring and describing the world. I got some of the schemes of the princes, queens, and concubines, but there were also a few hints about schemes from Khir. All of it felt more like it was being hinted at. Something for the second book to more fully explore?This was the story of six princes, two queens, and two concubines scheming for the throne. I have a feeling it was there. It just wasn’t as present as the world building. I’d say the world building took precedence in this book and the plot was more of something it simply had to have. After all, a book where the sole purpose is to describe a world would be pointless.Unfortunately, I felt the story itself was lacking. It’s a long book where not much happened. Though what did happen was exciting at the moment. But there were also moments of action and excitement that we just didn’t get to see because the narrative switched to another character and all we got where the beginning and end of the action.OverallIn terms of world building, this is an excellent book. In terms of a well-balanced book between setting, characters, and plot, it was a little lacking. Still, this was an interesting East Asian-inspired setting I enjoyed, and I can clearly see how it’s set up for a trilogy. I just hope that the next two books have more story and less world building. I think this first book sets the world up very well and I’d be interested to see how the story progresses. I must say, though, that, as much as the cover delivers a sense of war and battle, I was pleasantly surprised at the minimal violence present in this rather long book (the paperback is listed as being 704 pages).Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Kesara
    January 1, 1970
    [3.75 stars]I received a free e-arc of this book provided by the publisher - Orbit Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.You can continue to read my review down below, or check out my video review here: https://youtu.be/XYeijW5yAOYI was really excited for this book, because it is an asian inspired deeply political high fantasy, which is the type of book I typically reach for.While there are many different point of view characters in this book, it felt like th [3.75 stars]I received a free e-arc of this book provided by the publisher - Orbit Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.You can continue to read my review down below, or check out my video review here: https://youtu.be/XYeijW5yAOYI was really excited for this book, because it is an asian inspired deeply political high fantasy, which is the type of book I typically reach for.While there are many different point of view characters in this book, it felt like the protagonist of the story was Komor Yala, who is the lady in waiting to the princess of the Khir. The princess is being sent to Zhaon to marry the Crown Prince, because Zhaon has won a great battle with the Khir. The marriage is a truce between the two countries. The princess doesn’t really have a choice in the matter, and she is supposed to go with a retinue of ladies in waiting. But, all the noble young ladies of Khir are finding excuses not to go, so Komor Yala is the only one to accompany the princess.For basically, the entire story, we are navigating all of the intricacy of the Zhaon court.I love the political side of this book! It has a really well built world and I loved all the nuances of the court. But this book is really long and terribly slow. It felt like it took forever to get to the action. Then, the action didn’t quite live up to the build up in this book.Characters: There are some really great characters in this book. I think character is the strongest aspect of this book. I loved the main character Komor Yala. She is very brave. She is such a strong female character. She can fight, but only does it when she has too. She is very smart, which is what I love most about her. There are also, hints at potential romances with one or more male characters in the book, but she never lets that overshadow her life or her duty, which I loved about her. Then we have the princess Mahara. While I like her as a character, I did feel she was a little bland, but I did like her relationship with the Crown Prince Takyeo. Takyeo was actually a character that I ended up really liking. He is such a truly good person, but it works against him, because he is not very good at all the political machinations of the court. There are two other princes that make a pretty big impact in the story as well. First is the third prince Takshin. Takshin is my favorite character. He has the best backstory of all the characters. It is tragic and heartbreaking but at the same time is such a good character. Then there is Zakkar Kai, who also has a good backstory. He was originally not a prince. He was originally an orphan, because it village got destroyed and her was the only survivor. The King took him in to be raised in the military. Now he is the general of their army. I also feel sad for him at times. From the very beginning, it is obvious he has an attraction for Komor Yala, but he is also the general from the battle that killed her brother, so she is not having any of it!I love the dynamic between the two of them and some of the other character relationships. It think the relationships and the characters really made this book stand out. I loved every second of it!Plot: The plot was some difficult for me. I love a good political fantasy, but this plot was so slow! It felt like nothing happened in the first half of this book. Mind you, it is a 700 page book, so that’s 300 pages of almost nothing! But the book did string me along and kept me interested enough that I wanted to know what would happen eventually. But there was not action. The last about one third of this story did have some really good action. But I just felt like the payoff for that action didn’t really end up going where I wanted it to go.Worldbuilding: I’m a little torn on the world building as well. Some aspects of the world building I really loved. While there were other aspects that really annoyed me. It was a really well built world. I loved the political side of the world building and everything going on in the court. I loved the culture, and human side of the world building. I was little annoyed when it can to the names of plant and animals etc. Because there would be subscripts. It would have an unfamiliar name, that you would have to go to the subscript to read the description, which would be of something that is familiar in our world, that we actually do have a name for. I just felt like it unnecessarily took me out of the story, and that the author could have just used the familiar name for it without taking away from the story at all.Writing Style: I didn’t really enjoy the writing style in this book. The author had a tendency to set up a really interesting political situation in a subtle way, and then proceed to overexplain it (which is just a pet peeve of mind. I hate when authors do that.) Then there were also instances where the author would explain a situation in perfect detail and I would understand everything and was ready to move on, then the author would find a metaphor to summarize what just happened, which annoyed me to no end! I felt like I was reading the same think over and over, just written in different ways. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the politics! But the way the worldbuilding was done and the structure of the writing made this book difficult for me to read. I ended up giving it 3.75 stars.
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  • Molly Mason
    January 1, 1970
    **Thank you to Orbit, S.C. Emmett, and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**The Throne of Five Winds is a new Asian inspired Adult Epic Fantasy series that seems to gain inspiration from George R. R. Martin in political intrigue and battles for thrones. You have several nations, however the Empire of Zhaon dominates the novel, with it's recent acquisition of neighboring land, Khir. In payment to their new overlords, Khir "Great Rider" send **Thank you to Orbit, S.C. Emmett, and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**The Throne of Five Winds is a new Asian inspired Adult Epic Fantasy series that seems to gain inspiration from George R. R. Martin in political intrigue and battles for thrones. You have several nations, however the Empire of Zhaon dominates the novel, with it's recent acquisition of neighboring land, Khir. In payment to their new overlords, Khir "Great Rider" sends his daughter, Mahara, to marry the Crown Prince of Zhaon. Yala, her best friend, is sent to serve as lady-in-waiting to Mahara. Both girls are very honorable and take their fate in silence.The Throne of Five Winds has many characters, so it is hard to pin down a "main" character. There is 1 Emperor, 2 Queens, 2 Concubines, 6 Princes, 2 Princesses, Mahara, Yala, etc. It is very difficult, especially in the beginning to keep everyone straight. This is also due to them having traditional and similar Asian names. The chapters are told by different points of view, but aren't denoted as such like usual, which makes it difficult to follow along as well.I have many thoughts about this book. For one, the writing if very beautiful and flowery, but overdone for my taste. However, this is on brand for Asian inspired novels as well as Adult Epic Fantasy. There was very little that happened except pointed conversations and some general court intrigue for the first 70% of this book. I like to think of it like chess, where most of it was used to set up the events of the final quarter of the book, which then sets up the next book in the series. However, this got old at points and it was a struggle to keep interest in this book for that reason.This being said, the last quarter of the book was fairly interesting. I think the second book will be more exciting because of how this one ended (no spoilers!). I did become invested in the characters, even the ones that were meant to create tension and turmoil by being bad. The ending brought this book up in rating for me, which I was happy to have happen.I suggest The Throne of the Five Winds for fans of Epic Fantasy, Asian inspired stories, and George R. R. Martin. Readers should have good patience and interest in chess game style novels. Whereas this book was not always my cup of tea, I would suggest it for those who enjoy the above.
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  • Jeremiah Stratton
    January 1, 1970
    Two kingdoms were at war but now that war is over. In the clash of kingdoms what do you do to keep things from escalating again, give a sacrifice or a hostage. One princess of Khir is sent with a loan lady to the kingdom of Zhaon to become the crown princess and marry the crown prince of Zhaon. In this kingdom there are Many princes though, 6 to be exact, as well as 2 other princesses, 2 queens and even 2 royal concubines. This many people can always lead to a lot of politcal strife as well as p Two kingdoms were at war but now that war is over. In the clash of kingdoms what do you do to keep things from escalating again, give a sacrifice or a hostage. One princess of Khir is sent with a loan lady to the kingdom of Zhaon to become the crown princess and marry the crown prince of Zhaon. In this kingdom there are Many princes though, 6 to be exact, as well as 2 other princesses, 2 queens and even 2 royal concubines. This many people can always lead to a lot of politcal strife as well as political intrigue.This was a great book, especially as a debut book in this genre for this author. Going into it I had no idea that SC Emmett was a psuedonym for Lillith Saintcrow who is mostly know for her urban fantasy type books, this made this book all the more of an accomplishment because it was such a departure from Urban fantasy. In fact it wasnt even typical fantasy but much more eastern influenced right down to needing a glossary of terms that were used that were not terms most people would know.What I didnt like about this book:If there was something that I had to pick that I didnt like, it was probably that the book was a bit slow to move. At times it felt a bit longer than it needed to be. There was quite a bit of repetition as well with the assassins coming and going like they did, which of course all lead up to what happened in the end of the book.This did feel like the begining of the story, and while this is neither good nor bad, it FELT like the beginning of the story, where it was plodding to get out those basic details about this is who this person is and this is who this person is, etc.All of that said one of the things that I did enjoy about this book was the immersive world building. This was something completely new, a new world so to say, and Emmett does a great job or establishing the people and the customs, as well as the different cultures, some of which were only alluded to until some of the final moments of the book.The other thing I feel like I must mention is the cover of this book. It really is beautiful and what initially caught my attention leading to reading a summary.Overall a solid first entry into a new series. I look forward to seeing where the second book in this series will lead the characters, although I do hope to find out where the story might actually be going on the end.4 stars
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  • library_of_your_dreams
    January 1, 1970
    Arc received on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This breathtaking fantasy novel features lots of politics, plotting, and princes. The Emperor of Zhaon has two queens and two concubines who, along with his many children are caught up in a fine dance that walks a thin line between polite royal disputes and outright offensive plots. One of our main characters is Princess Mahara of Khir who is being married to the Crown Prince of Zhaon in order for the Zhaon Emperor to more steadily cont Arc received on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This breathtaking fantasy novel features lots of politics, plotting, and princes. The Emperor of Zhaon has two queens and two concubines who, along with his many children are caught up in a fine dance that walks a thin line between polite royal disputes and outright offensive plots. One of our main characters is Princess Mahara of Khir who is being married to the Crown Prince of Zhaon in order for the Zhaon Emperor to more steadily control the recently conquered Khir.Despite a bit of a confusing start to this novel, it was extremely enjoyable and intriguing. The beginning confused me a little bit because there were so many characters and many of the names were hard to keep straight. Once I got past the exposition, which introduced the many characters and different countries, this book became addictive.The world building was phenomenal. Each country had its own customs and language/dialect, and though we mainly just learned about how Zhaon customs differed from Khir customs, this added so much depth to the story. I especially liked how two of the main characters, Lady Yala and Princess Mahara, were shown to have been learning the Zhaon language and occasionally made mistakes with their grammar.Additionally, once I became familiar with the different characters, I enjoyed the many points of view because it gave us some insight into what certain characters valued and what their opinions were on specific conflicts.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    I love historical political dramas. I also love magicless/low magic fantasy. My favorite TV show is Rise of the Phoenixes, and I play it on a loop. This book felt like an alternate version of that show (albeit Korean inspired rather than Tang China). It hit all my tropes: competent female character, stranger in a strange land, romance, female friendship, slow pacing, a plethora of atmospheric details, duty conflicts, intrigue, scheming eunuchs/queens, calligraphy descriptions, conversations held I love historical political dramas. I also love magicless/low magic fantasy. My favorite TV show is Rise of the Phoenixes, and I play it on a loop. This book felt like an alternate version of that show (albeit Korean inspired rather than Tang China). It hit all my tropes: competent female character, stranger in a strange land, romance, female friendship, slow pacing, a plethora of atmospheric details, duty conflicts, intrigue, scheming eunuchs/queens, calligraphy descriptions, conversations held entirely through poetry/classics/metaphors, so much silk and tea. All it was missing were several scenes where hidden meanings were revealed through board games. This is the type of book setting I dream of writing. Granted it had it's flaws. Facts were repeated over and over. Yes it's hot. People died at three rivers etc. Which got annoying after a while. It took me more than halfway through the book to like Mahara. (The MC, Yala is the type of girl I love, thankfully). I think it could be stronger thematically. Things happen to people but to me it feels like there is no weight, which is fine, but I feel like that could improve the story and unite all the disparate POVs. Overall, 4.75. It scratched an itch for me that I've been desperate for. Can't wait until the next book.
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  • Todd
    January 1, 1970
    I received my copy of The Throne of the Five Winds through a goodreads giveaway.This was a long book, one that slowly weaved in one character after another, acclimating the reader to the cultures and politics of the story. I very much enjoyed the time I spent in this world, even though the majority of it takes place within a palace. There isn’t a lot of action, instead focusing on the politics of palace life, one where different parts of the same family vie for power, all while tryin I received my copy of The Throne of the Five Winds through a goodreads giveaway.This was a long book, one that slowly weaved in one character after another, acclimating the reader to the cultures and politics of the story. I very much enjoyed the time I spent in this world, even though the majority of it takes place within a palace. There isn’t a lot of action, instead focusing on the politics of palace life, one where different parts of the same family vie for power, all while trying to control bordering cultures. Two of the main characters are from a bordering culture, one to be married to the crown prince to help assure the peace and loyalty of her people, and the other to serve her princess.It felt more like an historical novel than a fantasy. It could just as easily have taken place at some point in the past. Though the cultures are creations of the author they feel heavily inspired by real ones. There wasn’t any magic I was aware of, and I was ok with that. The more I read the more I came to enjoy the characters, the cultures, and the story. The pace sped up as it neared the end, though this is the beginning of a series, so the ending is not really an ending at all. I look forward to returning to this world again.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    I was initially drawn to The Throne of the Five Winds by its gorgeous cover. Then I jumped in and began reading it and was blown away by the huge page count. It is definitely the epitome of an epic fantasy novel. In order to keep up with the large cast of characters, I definitely could have benefited from a family tree or a flowchart. It took me quite a while to finally feel like I had all the main characters figured out.As with any new fantasy series, a great deal of world building I was initially drawn to The Throne of the Five Winds by its gorgeous cover. Then I jumped in and began reading it and was blown away by the huge page count. It is definitely the epitome of an epic fantasy novel. In order to keep up with the large cast of characters, I definitely could have benefited from a family tree or a flowchart. It took me quite a while to finally feel like I had all the main characters figured out.As with any new fantasy series, a great deal of world building is always necessary in the first book. The Throne of the Five Winds was definitely no exception. In addition, you're learning how all of the characters are connected. There are six princes, since the emperor had two queens and two concubines. That's obviously going to eventually create problems. Even though it took me a while to work my way through The Throne of the Five Winds, it was well worth the time investment. It was such a fun read. I look forward to reading the next book.Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ayre Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review.This is one of those books people will either love or hate depending on their reading preferences. Its a very character driven story, not a plot driven story, so if you don't like the characters there is nothing to keep you invested in the book. The world is based on Asian cultures in a fantasy setting. If you like stories based on Asian cultures you'll probably enjoy thisMy personal feelings: I liked t I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review.This is one of those books people will either love or hate depending on their reading preferences. Its a very character driven story, not a plot driven story, so if you don't like the characters there is nothing to keep you invested in the book. The world is based on Asian cultures in a fantasy setting. If you like stories based on Asian cultures you'll probably enjoy thisMy personal feelings: I liked to book but I wanted more. There is a hint of a love triangle where two brothers seem to be in love with the same woman but nothing really ever comes from that. I wanted more of a plot, character driven stories aren't my favorite. I'll probably read the next book in the series, when it comes out, with the hopes that the first novel was just a build up novel; if its more of the same I will probably put down the series.
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  • Sari
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Soooo, I loved this. I absolutely flipping loved this. I didn’t want to reach the end, I just wanted this story to keep going and going and going. I just NEED to be in Emmett’s world This book was slow moving but the plot is so super in depth that it doesn't leave you waiting for speed. If you want a super quick plot and an easy story line, this isn't your book. This book is intense I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Soooo, I loved this. I absolutely flipping loved this. I didn’t want to reach the end, I just wanted this story to keep going and going and going. I just NEED to be in Emmett’s world This book was slow moving but the plot is so super in depth that it doesn't leave you waiting for speed. If you want a super quick plot and an easy story line, this isn't your book. This book is intense and amazing. It is so rich and complex that I read it twice before I even sat down to write my review. I absolutely and DYING for the next book. Emmett is a genius in the way they concluded this book. It really sets you up in anticipation for the next book. This is a series I can see myself reading over and over again. I have already added this to my must read 2019 list!
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  • Lianne
    January 1, 1970
    I will admit it—my Kindle said “40%” before I could keep track of the characters in the Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmet. Once I finally knew who was who, I became engaged in the fantasy Eastern Asian world. The character-driven storyline is filled with the machinations and descriptions of the many characters drinking a wide variety of teas. Although the book is billed as an epic story similar to books by George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, this novel lacks complexity and depth. Ho I will admit it—my Kindle said “40%” before I could keep track of the characters in the Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmet. Once I finally knew who was who, I became engaged in the fantasy Eastern Asian world. The character-driven storyline is filled with the machinations and descriptions of the many characters drinking a wide variety of teas. Although the book is billed as an epic story similar to books by George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, this novel lacks complexity and depth. However, some of the characters piqued my interest, and I found their stories compelling. The book doesn’t end— the reader needs to wait for the next installment of the trilogy to see what happens. I wouldn’t give this book a strong recommendation because it wasn’t my cup of tea; however, it is worth trying because other readers enjoyed it immensely.
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  • Darlene
    January 1, 1970
    Thrilling fantasy I received this kindle book as part of the Goodreads giveaway program. Fantasy novels have not been a usual reading genre for me. The sheer scope of this was, for the moment, a daunting endeavor. With quite a few character, developed slowly and precisely, it seemed, at first, to be a challenge. But, I persevered and I am so glad I did. This book was amazing. Strong character development and unique setting had me enthralled within a few chapters. Intrigue, conspiracy, culture, r Thrilling fantasy I received this kindle book as part of the Goodreads giveaway program. Fantasy novels have not been a usual reading genre for me. The sheer scope of this was, for the moment, a daunting endeavor. With quite a few character, developed slowly and precisely, it seemed, at first, to be a challenge. But, I persevered and I am so glad I did. This book was amazing. Strong character development and unique setting had me enthralled within a few chapters. Intrigue, conspiracy, culture, royalty, strong female characters and damaged warriors make for a book I won't like!y forget. I am looking forward to the next in series. The end to this novel was a cliffhanger.
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  • Brandon
    January 1, 1970
    The premise seemed really interesting and I was looking forward to getting started, but it seemed like the first 10-15% of the book I had trouble getting pulled into the story and put it down multiple times in favor of other competitors for my attention. This is not a high octane, action-packed extravaganza, but the court intrigue and inter-personal relationships are a solid draw. Once I figured out the path the story was going, and became familiar with the key characters I was pretty heavily in The premise seemed really interesting and I was looking forward to getting started, but it seemed like the first 10-15% of the book I had trouble getting pulled into the story and put it down multiple times in favor of other competitors for my attention. This is not a high octane, action-packed extravaganza, but the court intrigue and inter-personal relationships are a solid draw. Once I figured out the path the story was going, and became familiar with the key characters I was pretty heavily invested. This is a well written entry to a trilogy that I am looking forward to reading future installments of.
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  • Kelly Sedinger
    January 1, 1970
    My actual rating would be closer to, oh, 3.75. A longer review will appear on The Geekiverse once I read it; for now I'll note that this book is good and I definitely enjoyed it...but it IS too long and full of very long passages where not much happens other than characters interacting with each other in the "dangerous court politics" kind of way. I tend to be a fan of that sort of thing, so I was fine with it, but some parts of the book are really a lot more wordy than they need to be. This is My actual rating would be closer to, oh, 3.75. A longer review will appear on The Geekiverse once I read it; for now I'll note that this book is good and I definitely enjoyed it...but it IS too long and full of very long passages where not much happens other than characters interacting with each other in the "dangerous court politics" kind of way. I tend to be a fan of that sort of thing, so I was fine with it, but some parts of the book are really a lot more wordy than they need to be. This is quite good, but with some stronger editing could have been VERY good indeed.
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  • Phyllis
    January 1, 1970
    So much to love in this book. The noble heroine travels far from her home to a conquering kingdom with her princess. The princess is marrying the emperor's heir to cement peace. The two women are alone in a foreign country and they find danger in the royal court. From insults to assassination attempts, Lady Yala is determined to protect her princess. Looking forward to the next book in this series.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas.Yala and Princess Mahara are in the lion’s den after their home of Khir is conquered by the forces of Zhaon and the Princess is wed to their Crown Prince. Yala, serving as Mahara’s lady-in-waiting, uses her intelligence and fearlessness to protect herself and Mahara in a realm fraught with danger around every corner.Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas.Yala and Princess Mahara are in the lion’s den after their home of Khir is conquered by the forces of Zhaon and the Princess is wed to their Crown Prince. Yala, serving as Mahara’s lady-in-waiting, uses her intelligence and fearlessness to protect herself and Mahara in a realm fraught with danger around every corner.This hefty read includes multiple plots, numerous characters, and a thrilling set-up for further political games. While I partially chose this book for the beautiful cover, there was a magnetism in the storytelling. Yala remained strong, despite her demure manner, and the events at the end of the book were unexpected as a result. There is so much to say about this book, but mere words cannot express the incredibleness of The Throne of the Five Winds without the experience of reading through it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully told tale that absolutely wraps the reader up in court drama, intrigue, and the impact of royal decisions on the immediate family. It is a lengthy read, but the narrative absolutely flows with such eloquence that I could not put it down. I do not know how I will bear to make it until book two.
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  • Kay Mcleer
    January 1, 1970
    For a first book in the series this is well done, the author is able introduce the world and its characters perfectly. I really enjoyed the plot and culture in the book. I look forward to more in the series.
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