Empire of Exiles

Orbit. (Books of the Usurper, Bk. 1). Nov. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9780316440875. pap. $17.99. FANTASY
In this high fantasy epic, scrivener Quill’s charming innocence is devastated when he witnesses a friend being implicated in an inexplicable murder that involves the empress, a noble consul, and the notorious Kirazzi family, who once attempted to overthrow the throne. Determined to prove that his friend isn’t a monster, Quill turns to the Imperial Archives for help and teams up with the dependable Amadea, whose haunting past catches up to her, and sweet Yinii, whose rare ink affinity estranges her from her people. Together with Vigilant Richa, they pursue an assassin that can reshape others’ thoughts and memories, as they also attempt to untangle an immense web of lies, secrets, past relationships, and false identities. The perfectly ominous atmosphere is established by rich worldbuilding, addictive and consuming magic, and an intricately plotted conspiracy full of momentous twists. Nothing is as it seems, exposing lost loves and flawed loyalties among the large cast of admirable, multifaceted characters.
VERDICT An excellent new fantasy series by Evans (The Devil You Know), perfect for fans of Katherine Addison or those who enjoy slow-burning and complex court intrigue.
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