Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Giveaway Madness #18: The Empire by Elizabeth Lang PLUS a Review by Me!!


***Please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for some fabulous prizes, including a Kobo mini! Drawing 3/31/13***

As part of Elizabeth Lang's virtual book tour for The Empire, I wrote a review of this fantastic story and included this tour stop as part of our March Giveaway Madness. To follow the rest of Elizabeth's tour stops, go to: http://pageturnerbooktours.blogspot.com/On to the review...

"It will be interesting to discover which will make you beg. Will it be the pain or the pleasure?"

This line from The Empire fits the book perfectly. From the very beginning, I empathized with Adrian Stannis, the brilliant scientist at the center of the story. The tyrannical government of the year 4045 (the Empire) believes him to be aligned with a band of rebels. They are determined to break Adrian's spirit and force him to construct a weapon that will destroy their arch-enemies, The Andromedans. They begin with physical torture of the most heinous kind--the kind that makes a man beg for death. When that fails, they bring in a 'psychostrategist', a man who's on par with Adrian's intellect, to manipulate him into cooperating. But no one, not even a mind-meddler, can foresee the events that will unfold.

Throughout it all, Adrian takes comfort in the beautiful Kali Mirren, a not-quite-human (Tellaran) with psi abilities. She can feel every ounce of the pain Adrian is put through, and works tirelessly to help him escape the Empire's clutches. With the help of lowly weapons tech Bryce, the trio must navigate the dangerous waters of a government gone bad while war threatens to destroy them all. 

I'd been wanting to read this book for a long while, and I'm glad I finally got the chance. Elizabeth Lang's writing cuts marrow deep. She doesn't hesitate to dig right down into the murky depths of the human psyche, showing us the full range of what men and women are capable of, from the downright despicable to the surprisingly noble. 

For someone like me, who's often leery of reading science fiction, I'm happy to say that The Empire has changed that. Sure, there are plenty of futuristic technologies going on throughout the story, but I never got bogged down with the lingo. Elizabeth blends it all in perfectly with the character-driven plot. Each and every character in the story came alive on the page, even the supporting cast. I had no trouble connecting with them, even the ones I grew to absolutely loathe! 

Of course, I connected most with the leads, Adrian, Kali, and Bryce. Adrian, the poor guy, is so intelligent, he's almost android-like at times in being unable to show emotion. All the torture he endures doesn't help that at all. Kali is his lifeline to humanity. She's a courageous woman to go up against such a juggernaut as the Empire for Adrian's sake. And Bryce shows his own fair share of bravery, despite being hesitant and acting more in his own interests for the better part of the story. 

The clincher, which should come as no surprise to those who know me, was the romance between Adrian and Kali. Their scenes together are heart-wrenchingly good and beautifully written. I love the dynamic of their connection. Adrian depends on Kali to connect him to humanity again, while  Adrian is an enigma for her by being so devoid of emotion. For a woman who feels everything from everyone all the time, I think she was attracted to Adrian partly because he's not constantly spewing emotional energy. She has to dig for it, to really seek out the man inside to know what he's feeling. And that makes for a fabulous love story, even in a sci-fi setting. 

If I could nitpick anything, it would be a few places where the POV switched abruptly and made me wonder whose head I was in, but just for a moment. And there were some typos here and there. However, these minor issues didn't draw me out of the story enough to detract from the experience.

My rating: a solid five stars *****

I'll definitely be reading the second book, The Rebels (available now), and the rest when they're finished. Thank you, Elizabeth Lang, for the start of a great new series. I'd recommend this book for any adult reader, whether you're a sci-fi fan or not. I think you just have to try it and see for yourself!

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20 comments:

  1. Thank you for the excellent review, Mysti. You got the characters perfectly.

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    1. My pleasure! It's a fabulous book :) Keep writing, lady!

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  2. If the AUTHOR thinks Mysti's smack dab right on, then who are we to argue?? She does write a decent review!

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    1. That's right--thou shalt not argue with Mysti and the author who agrees with her. :)

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    2. Mysti is an awesome reviewer :)

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  3. I'll be around for questions, comments or any craziness you can come up with for the rest of today. The characters are available for interviews...

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  4. don't do it! the characters are just as nuts as elizabeth is! i've been sucked in by the evil nut tree and i can't get out...help! ;)

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    1. Hey, whoever you are, sometimes I feel like a nut...and sometimes I feel like a nut. :)

      We nuts gotta stick together.

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  5. I'd like to read more about Kali because she sounds brave.

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    1. That's why I really liked her...and in a small part because my first heroine's nickname is Cali. Elizabeth clearly has good tastes in naming and formulating tough female characters.

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  6. I want to hear more about Adrian. Plus I love that name. The book looks great and looking forward to checking this out.

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  7. A story AND a review by Mysti! Who can go wrong with that?

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  8. Hi bn100. Sorry it took so long to respond but I'm contending with my sister's newborn twins at the moment so they take first priority.

    Kali starts out as a passive character, mainly supporting Adrian. But you can see bits of her independence in The Empire as she goes against what she knows he wants in order to help him. At the start of The Empire, she's a bit subdued, trying to stay out of trouble because she feels guilty about what she did, but we don't discover that until The Rebels.

    By The Rebels, you learn a lot more about her background and it's not that simple. She was exiled by her people because of something she did back on her home planet. She's a person who acts when she believes in something and sometimes that gets her into trouble.

    When we reach The Andromedans, her journey gets darker when she's is faced with some tough decisions.

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  9. Hi Chris.

    Adrian is a complex and tortured character. He's brilliant in many ways, creative and capable of leaps of logic that make him valued by the Empire. He's also somewhat naive in the ways of people and the world because the Empire isolated him at an early age in order to concentrate his energies on learning.

    Because of difficulties with other top scientists who refused to follow orders blindly, the Empire took people like Adrian at an early age and 'trained' them to be good little Empire citizens.

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  10. Adrian! I'd love to read about Adrian. He sounds interesting and who can refuse an intelligent man?

    LOL
    Thanks for the giveaway
    Tobi
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

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    1. A bit more about Adrian. He's an intensely curious person. The kind of guy who likes taking things apart to see how they work and he can't resist improving it. He's highly disciplined and loves to learn. His experience with people hasn't been encouraging and as a result, he tends to be a loner, but when he accepts a friend, it is without condition. Adrian detests violence, viewing it as the less intelligent alternative, but don't be fooled, his mind makes him a very dangerous man, as the Empire has found out.

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  12. I am definitely intrigued by Kali - I want to know more about what not quite human with psi abilities is all about and looking forward to finding this out :)

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