Review of ‘The Empress of Xytae’ by Effie Calvin
I’m definitely hooked on this series. This is book four in the Tales of Inthya series. I’m happy to say that this was another enjoyable installment. Not my favorite of the series, but I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun reading it so no big complaints. These are epic fantasy lesbian romances that take place all around this world Calvin has created. One book we are in a land of Dragons, the next we are in the land of war, each country Calvin takes us to is exciting and new. And while we get to learn about new characters, old favorites mix into all the different books. This fantasy world, and it’s a whole world, is extremely well imagined and Calvin impresses me more and more every book.
I always try to include in my series reviews if you can start with this book or not. I would not recommend that. The world is so full and rich with storylines connecting all over that you really should read the first three books first. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the first book is the weakest. Calvin was setting up this new world so there was a lot of information and it just didn’t flow as smoothly as her others. It’s clear how her writing has improved with every new installment. I would actually suggest to people interested in trying this series to read book 2 ‘Daughter of the Sun’ first, and if you enjoy it, that’s when you go back to read book 1. Book 1 is important and needs to be read before book 3 (book 3 is like a mini-sequel to book 1) so do come back to it, but I think book 2 is a better opening to the series and will hook you in if you read it first.
This book was centered on Ioanna, a princess of Xytae. Xytae is the land of war with most of its inhabitants worshiping the God of War. As the oldest, Ioanna was supposed to be Empresses but she did not receive a blessing from the God of War. How can someone become the leader when she doesn’t even believe in keeping the war going? Ioanna must decide if she can claim the thrown to bring peace or will her younger sister take over to keep the country in perpetual war.
I believe it was actually in book 2 that Ioanna appeared shortly as a young girl, while in this book she is a grown-up of around 20. Ioanna’s story was really interesting even as a little girl so I was hoping Calvin would soon fast-forward a bit so we could see how her story went. Once I realized this book was her story, I was even more excited to read it.
While I enjoyed the romance in this book, I did not think it was as great as the other main character’s romances in the series. It is the reason this book was a solid 4 stars and not higher. The romance here was much more lighthearted. I understand the approach, Ioanna needs someone in her life that was light and filled with humor, but their romance was a little fast with not as much chemistry as I hoped for. Again, I still enjoyed it and maybe I’m being a little picky but I think a stronger connection here and the book could have been fantastic instead of really good.
I noticed there is a title for book 5 already. That makes me really happy as I’m not ready to see this series end. Because Calvin has created a whole fantasy world and beyond, there is so much potential for even more stories. If you are a fan of this series, get this book you won’t be disappointed. If you are new to the series, grab book 2 Daughter of the Sun and see if you’ll get hooked as I did. 4 stars.
A copy was given to me for an honest review.