Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review Roundup for The Emperor's Knife

For a newly published author, reviews can be a source of both excitement and anxiety. Reviewers receive a great number of books every month, and the first challenge is to earn their attention. But once they’ve chosen your book, will they hate it, love it, or worse—have no particular feeling for it at all? I have been fortunate in that The Emperor’s Knife was chosen, more than once, and that it has been well received. Here is a roundup of reviews in roughly chronological order. [If I’ve missed one, it was not on purpose: please bring it to my attention.]

“The Emperor's Knife (****) is a strong fantasy novel with a fresh setting, rich characters and an enjoyable storyline.”

“I said it at the beginning, and I'll say it again, this is an ambitious debut novel.  Thankfully, it's also a novel that demonstrates great deal of promise in its author.” ***1/2

“A debut with great potential” ****

“Compelling characterizations will keep fans of grim fantasy entirely enthralled.”

“Williams creates a twisty and enjoyable tale centred on a creepy magical plague sapping the strength from the heart of the Cerani Empire.” ****

The Emperor’s Knife has everything a fan of epic and high fantasy may need. It has mystery, intrigue, amazing characters both to love and to hate, and original magic systems.” ****1/3

“This is the first novel by Mazarkis Williams, though it doesn't feel like it.  I would highly recommend checking it out when it hits shelves on December 6th.  It's the first in a trilogy, but stands easily on its own.  It has all the elements of a dark fantasy that give a story that heavy realism without going over the edge being so dark that that it starts losing sight of that realism again.” ****

“The characters are all believably complex, with desires, regrets and fears.” *****

“Although it boasts an engaging premise, an interesting  magic system and a refreshing setting, The Emperor’s Knife is not without its problems. . . .  That said,  there are plenty of tantalizing ideas here – the patterning disease and Prince Sarmin’s accidental discoveries within it, elemental mages,  an ancient temple found in the desert, not to mention all the overly polite courtly cruelty,  it all keeps me interested to see what happens next.”


Fantasy Book Critic [Mihir Wanchoo & Robert Thompson]

"Overall, I enjoyed The Emperor’s Knife for telling a story of people broken by the psychological nature of past events and their striving to do the right thing."

"Even though the novel could have benefited from improvements in the areas mentioned above, The Emperor’s Knife as a whole is a very impressive debut by Mazarkis Williams, who immediately ranks among the year’s most exciting new fantasy authors."

Book Monkey 
"Despite my negative points discussed in this review, I do think Mazarkis Williams shows promise as a writer. This novel isn’t perfect, but as far as I’m concerned they are teething problems that can be sorted out by the time it comes to the next novel in the series. Williams has created some wonderfully imaginative ideas that will intrigue you and keep you reading."***

.bibliophile. .anonymous.

"It's a mixed bag for The Emperor's Knife for this fantasy fan."***

Popcorn Reads [MK] 

"It's a highly complex novel, filled with devious sub-plots, and enough twists to satisfy even the most demanding reader."

 Tim's Book Reviews [Tim Lewis]

"Replete with political intrigue and mystery, The Emperor’s Knife is a story I will remember and that will keep me thinking after the book is closed." 

Paperless Reading [Ken Wong]

"Reading the book is like watching a chess match, the pace is slow and you don't always understand why the players made that move but at the same time, you're intrigued by the maneuvers and intend to wait out till a player pulls out a checkmate move."

The Founding Fields [Bane of Kings]

" I strongly recommend this novel to any fans of fantasy that are looking to try something new." ****1/2