The Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley

T I T L E: The Empire Ascendant
S E R I E S: Worldbreaker (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Kameron Hurley
P U B L I S H E R: Angry Robot Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 6, 2015
I S B N: 9780857665607
Loyalties are tested when worlds collide...
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.
Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful - but unpredictable - magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress's sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire's undoing.
But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?

     I confess, I’m not sure how to begin this review. This book is very complex and not a quick read by any means. However, it is very intriguing as well as quite intense. The reader needs to devote all their attention to this story because if not, in my opinion they could get lost very easily.
     The world building was brilliantly done. There are diverse environments which go from one extreme to another, including a multitude of creatures and plant life which span both the story’s main world as well as the mirror one. There are some absolutely great battle scenes, some of which are quite brutal and the pace is fast which is excellent especially in a book of this scale. There are also social and gender related issues that include the politics of those subjects interspersed throughout.
     As far as characters go, there is a vast number of them. It can be rather daunting and hard to keep them straight. And though, there were so many, I still found it difficult to find even just one to relate to. That’s not to say they didn’t have depth or were not written well, they were. I just couldn’t find any that I liked well enough.
     The scope of this saga is enormous and the execution was technically excellent. I do recommend that readers start with the first book in this series before tackling this one. All in all is was very well written, I just didn’t connect with any of the characters. However, since I find the plot very interesting and the writing so well done, I’m going to go ahead and give it four stars.