The Emperor's Trap
If you’ve been reading Denny’s work long enough then you know she has been taking the time to rework her saga—I thought they were perfect before but never mind me!—so if you haven’t been a fan for long, or you haven’t been paying attention, you might not have noticed. That’s not to say so much has changed, you can still follow along very well and, of course, it helps that Denny’s writing has remained the same throughout—in fact, nothing of this book besides the cover and title changed from the original copy. BUT I’m still glad I got my hands on some of the books before the title and cover changes were made, it makes me feel like an ‘Original Fan’.
What I’ve always enjoyed about this series is the different POVs. Although this is certainly a different style of writing, this saga reminds me of the way the Game of Thrones series is written. While there are multiple protagonist’s and a few different narrations going on in one book, it all manages to come together as one coherent story—one main goal—ultimately, one journey for the entire cast. You get to watch different strengths and weaknesses mold, shift, and fight to become the heroes we love from the previous books.
I don’t think I really have to come out and say that The Emperor’s Trap lived up to the reputation of its predecessor—really, that’s a given. But I will say the narration surprised me. For some reason, I opened this book and was shocked to find first-person narration. This isn’t my first time reading Denny’s work so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it felt so much fresher in this book, so much more compelling. Maybe I’ve grown too attached and everything feels so much more personal now, I really don’t know! But I’m not complaining at all. The voice of narration sounds distinctly stronger than in previous novels, the flow of Seekers is definitely there but with so much more emotion, detail, and heart.
I kind of felt like there was more heartbreak in this story, like tragedy waited for each character. But all the events from The Emperor’s Trap played a role in developing the cast beyond Seekers. Nothing felt like a tear-jerker, or something Denny threw in for a reaction. It all matched very well, it moved forward quite smoothly, and while some things were surprising, it still followed the plot in a believable way. I hope there is more joy in the next book, as this one definitely carried a more serious and emotional tune to it. All that being said, I don’t think this book was necessarily darker than Seekers but was very upfront with the unfortunate events that occur.
If you had the chance to read Seekers or Refugees, I would strongly suggest looking at The Emperor’s Trap. Any reader over 12 will find themselves taken in by the characters, journeys, and imagination of the world introduced on the pages of this series. If you like fantasy, this is certainly for you.