Top positive review
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An excellent triology, better than The Riftwar/Serpentwar
on 2 November 2001
I have to confess to having read this triology (Daughter, Servant & Mistress of the Empire) maybe over a dozen times now. For me this is the ultimate science fantasy, and easily outstrips anything Feist does on his own, though I enjoy those too.
With Janny Wurts, Fiest manages to achieve a greater depth to his plots that otherwise he lacks in Riftwar etc.
By creating Mara as the central character, JW & REF explore interesting side issues that are lacking in other fantasy, where the dominant character is usually male.
The whole issue of the Tsurani culture and politics, though clearly taken from the Far East, is a novel and refreshing idea to put in a book, and the continual comparisions made to the 'barbarian world'of Midkemia throughout is a interesting moral byplay for the characters in the book. Particularly good are the characters Arakasi, with his Spy Network, the radical Light of Heaven who supports Mara covertly & Lujan, Mara's Force Commander (who could easily have been left behind in development). All characters are explored thoroughly and developed, to the point where sometimes you can almost pre-empt their actions as you get to know them. Even the 'bad guys' receive the same attention, which is unusual, and make compelling reading. Tasiao, the warmonger, Jiro, the scholar, but whose 1st advisor Chumaka, pits his wits against Arakasi in the third book, is a wonderful piece of writing. These really are the sort of books you can lose days reading. The intrigue is compelling, the quality of writing, both in narrative and dialogue surpasses anything that these 2 writers have achieved individually. This in part is allowed due to the size of the books 600,700,900 pages (approx)respectively, but rather than being daunting, still you will get through them quicker than you want.
The authors aren't afraid to kill off characters, in the end, few of the original remain, which means that a touch of realism is allowed, which sometimes is lacking in this respect in Riftwar.New characters develop at a pace which allows the reader to understand them, without confusion.Several other moments are brilliantly written, when Arakasi's cold heart melts, but in Tsurani fashion,of course. Moments of compassion from the cold Tasaio when he takes a wife, yet moments later watches the execution of his courtesan with bloodlust. In a way, these books explore every facet of human life. Read them for what they are-fantasy, or read something deeper into them if you choose, whatever you do, you'll enjoy them