Book Review: Mark of the Empress

Book Review: Mark of the Empress

Betrayed by those closest to her, Empress Alexstrayna must figure out a way to get it all back - her throne, her people, her son.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Mark of the Empress

Series: The Empire Saga #2
Author: M. Dalto
Publication Date: November 12, 2019 
Publisher: The Parliament House
Page Count: 313
Format: eARC
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton
My Rating: ★★★1/2

Mark of the Empress (The Empire Saga Book 2)Mark of the Empress by M. Dalto
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

1) Book 1: Two Thousand Years ★★1/2

I received a copy of this book via the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.

description

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Attempted Incest/Rape, Miscarriage, Death

Within this tome is the very backbone of this Empire’s history–past, present, and future.


I’m going to say right off that this sequel to Two Thousand Years was much improved to the former, in my opinion. I had some difficulties with Two Thousand Years that I felt were more resolved here. We get to meet the next generation of heirs vying for the crown, which was unexpected, but kept the plot pacing engaging with new characters being introduced along with several new problems.

Two characters that are “new”–seeing how they were formally newborns at the end of Two Thousand Years–are Lexan and Sarayna. The children of Empress Alexstrayna, Treyan, and possibly Reylor, become the main focus in this leg of the journey. When Alex, Treyan, and Sarayna make their way back to the Empire from Earth, things are very different. Time on Earth and in the Empire pass differently. While a short period had passed after their escape to Earth in Two Thousand Years, twenty years spanned in the Empire. Upon their arrival, Alex discovered that her son, Lexan (and Sarayna for that matter), were now adults. Not only that, Lexan is vying for the throne with his very own Empress.

The Empire itself is in shambles since the last time they were there. Being gone for so long, Alex and Treyan must be cautious traversing the land since they don’t know who is friend or foe. Reylor is still residing somewhere, and his motives are unknown, making them all the more wary. Seeing how he took Lexan as a baby from Alex and Treyan, they can only guess what he has been up to all these years.

Reylor’s character reminds me of Loki’s character in the Marvel stories. Friend and foe both, you never really know what his angle is or why. Are his motives driven by self gain, by his “love” for Alex, or for some other purpose?

Lexan has some major issues–with both mother and father. Raised by Reylor, Lexan several times expresses fear of his father. Also being close with the family’s advisor, he decides to make very shady decisions in order to take the position that he desires, (view spoiler) Being second-in-line to the throne to Sarayna, Lexan must risk sacrificing all, even his morality, in order to become the next ruler of the Empire.

Lexan’s character, although not incredibly developed, offers up much more complexity than Sarayna. When Sarayna, Alex, and Treyan find their way back to the Empire, we don’t get a detailed picture of Sarayna’s character. She’s definitely naive, and quick to trust. It’s to be expected, since she knows only parts of her family’s history, now that she is new to adulthood. I’m curious to see how her character will develop throughout the rest of the Saga–to see if she grows into her position and responsibility.

I can’t say much about Alex and Treyan for several reasons. First and foremost, due to spoilers. The thing I will touch on was that there was a lot of tension between them throughout, that seemed forced and unnecessary. I wasn’t a big fan of how they interacted for a majority of the time, as they seemed quite plainly, immature.

The world-building of the Empire is still lacking. While I understand that the main focus is on the characters, some more details about the surrounds would be very welcomed. The general idea of the Boarderlands to the Empire is very vague. I think it would give the tension between the Empire and Boarderlands more reasoning and palpability if this were fleshed out further. This is the main area of the story that keeps me from really being able to interact with it.

The finale of Mark of the Empress was pretty shocking. I’m curious to see where it will lead, but have an idea where it’s headed. This story doesn’t leave much out for shock value. Be wary to draw near to characters, as they just may surprise you in ways you aren’t expecting.

Vulgarity: Moderate.
Sexual content: Explicit sex scenes, Attempted rape/incest.
Violence: Some.

My Rating: ★★★1/2

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I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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