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  • Writer's pictureJohn Dodd

Book Review: Seven Deaths of an Empire

Minor spoiler included, not for the plot, but the timeline of the book

The death of an Emperor, and the machinations that will always follow such an event as all those with a vested interest vie for the position that they feel they deserve.

I love the sharp prose in this, there's no wasted words, every scene advances the plot without giving too much away, and while there's two perspectives throughout, each tells a story that holds without requirement of interlacing with the other, even though they are interlaced, and intimately so.

The magic is well thought out, which is excellent, given that one side of the novel is for The General, an older man seeing perhaps the end of the life where he still serves a purpose, and the other side is for The Magician, a younger man just starting out on the path of life, with all the uncertainties that youth brings, particularly in an unfamiliar world where he seeks to master powers beyond his comprehension..

I liked the story, and want to see what happens next, but as mentioned at the beginning of the review, I do have an issue with the timeline of the book . This is a complete story, but throughout the book, the chapters refer to the time in which they are set, not with a year, but indicating "Ten years before," or something similar. In and of itself, this wouldn't normally be a problem, but the last chapter is "Two years ago." which makes the entire of the book a prelude to what's going on right now, a time that we never reach in this book. It shouldn't have affected my enjoyment of the book, and certainly, while reading it, I was very much looking forwards to finding out what was happening in the present day, presuming that the last chapter would be something along the lines of "And here we are..."

But it wasn't.

I like the world, I like the characters, I just want to know what's actually going on with them now. It may be an irrational twitch on my part, and if it hadn't been told as events that came before the now, I'd have had no issue.

I will be reading the next book, but if we still haven't reached the present day by the end of it, that might be as far as I get with it.

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