The Throne of the Five Winds by S. C. Emmett

The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire, #1)

by S. C. Emmett

Two queens, two concubines, six princes. 
Innumerable secret agendas.
A single hidden blade.

The imperial palace -- full of ambitious royals, sly gossip and unforeseen perils -- is perhaps the most dangerous place in the Empire of Zhaon. Komor Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of the vanquished kingdom of Khir, has only her wits and her hidden blade to protect herself and her charge, who was sacrificed in marriage to the enemy as a hostage for her conquered people's good behaviour, to secure a tenuous peace.

But the Emperor is ageing and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes' deadly schemes for the throne -- and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.

Then, the Emperor falls ill -- and a far bloodier game begins...

The Throne of the Five Winds is the first instalment of the Hostage of Empire series, an intricate and ruthless East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and K. Arsenault Rivera.

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Throne of Five Winds through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Throne of Five Winds is the first novel in the Hostage of Empire series by S.C. Emmett. It’s one of the most complex fantasy novels to come out this year, one full of characters, motives, and politics. It’s been favorably compared to George R.R. Martin’s writing, and with good reason.
Zhaon hosts an imperial court full of deception and intrigue. The Emperor is aging – and getting closer to dying every day. Every person who could conceivably get their hands on the thrown has their own schemes and ambitions. Their actions are weaving a complicated web, one that is as treacherous as it is deceptive.
It all started out when the Khir Princess was summoned. What followed were the plans of six different princes and their extended families. But the real question on everyone’s mind is: who will win this contest for the throne, and who will fall?

“The mouse that moves is taken. Another proverb. The classics were stuffed to bursting with them.”

Throne of Five Winds was beautifully complicated and a delightful read. Every scene was filled with lush details that made the world and inhabitants come alive. Granted, I personally wouldn’t want to live in a world so full of deception. But I sure do love reading about it!
Having finished reading Throne of Five Winds, I can understand why people are making so many comparisons to George R.R. Martin. The number of characters in this novel is outstanding. I found myself taking notes just so I could keep up as I was reading. But that’s not a bad thing – I love a novel full of characters that all have their own plots and ambitions. It makes for rich world-building and plots.
Along with being one of the most complex novels to come out this year, it’s also fairly high up there in length. Coming in at seven hundred and four pages, Throne of Five Winds is not a novel to pick up lightly (see what I did there?). But it’s also absolutely worth it. The political intrigue alone makes this novel a fascinating read. The character development and depth further rounds out what is an intensely intriguing story.
I know that Throne of Five Winds was a bit of a long read, but it was honestly worth every minute of my time. And that’s including the time I spent taking notes about each of the characters. I enjoyed it that much! I’m looking forward to seeing the next novel in the Hostage of Empire series. I hope it’s as intricate as this novel was.
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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 27 November, 2019: Finished reading
  • 27 November, 2019: Reviewed