The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley is an incredibly ambitious and wonderful epic fantasy that throws out every rulebook trope of the genre to create a truly magical experience. The Mirror Empire combines awesome magic dependent on which star is most present in the sky with parallel worlds battling for their very survival as an apocalypse approaches that occurs every 2000 years. Forget fantasy based on Medieval Europe with kings and knights, bring in a number of matriarchal societies, plus societies with completely different gender norms (5 genders) and marriage arrangements (understandable with 5 genders), and did I mention the swords that grow out of warriors’ wrists?? This description only barely scratches the surface of all the cool things that The Mirror Empire brings together, but if you love world-building and want a truly unique fantasy read, just trust me on this one ;-).
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Mirror Empire from the publisher. I have been informed that a fair amount has changed and been added in the final version.
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley (Worldbreaker Saga #1)
Published by Angry Robot on August 26th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Length: 544 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past... while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.
Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of ruin.
As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father's people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise - and many will perish.