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Daughter of the Drowned Empire

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year-old mage Lady Lyriana Batavia is third in line to the Seat of Power in Bamaria: a position of wealth and privilege, but not safety. Bamaria falls under the rule of the Lumerian Empire, survivors of a celestial war whose island sank in the Drowning. Now all Lumerians submit to the Emperor and his strict laws about magic. He decides what magic can be practiced and what powers remain forbidden. He decides who will die for possession of forbidden magic. I found the Lyriana/Tristan relationship completely pointless. I could’ve gotten behind the idea if it was only for political protection, but the incessant internal monologue trying to convince us that she actually liked him was a completely unnecessary attempt to create a love triangle, which only really work when we are not sure who the MC is going to end up with (and sometimes not even then), and it’s obvious who it’s going to be here. There is literally no end to her “I have so many responsibilities that I need to fulfill for my family” spiel, so she would’ve been a much more consistent character (and the story would’ve been much stronger) had she actually stopped liking Tristan after the first chapter and only stayed with him to allay any suspicions about her sisters. (Also any sexual scenes between them were super awkward—very weird to read.)

Faced with death in exile, and leaving her sisters behind, Lyr has no choice but to accept a deadly contract. She has seven months to train as a warrior and pass the Emperor’s brutal test of strength, without magic. Lyr has plenty scope for growth and I'm curious enough to read more in the series if my library gets the other books...afraid I'm not invested enough to buy them for myself tho - soz 😶

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But when she’s forced to train with Lord Rhyan Hart, the man she’s secretly loved since she was a girl—a feared warrior in exile himself, forbidden to her in every way—she’s in danger of losing far more than her family, life, and country.

The worldbuilding is actually pretty awesome (which is why I gave it two stars and not one)—but I read half the book and I barely get where we are/what’s happening/where the story is going. I’m the first one to complain about info dumps but this—this is too much too fast. I saw multiple spots where the story would’ve benefited off of spending a paragraph or two going over the weird fantastic creatures they have, or the layout of the land, or the socio-political structure of their society, and where all of that stands in relation to the human world (which they off-handedly mention like, once?). Also, the plot is just so choppy. No seamless flow at all. Suffice it to say that I’m very lost.We follow Lady Lyriana, of Ka Bamaria / Heir to Arksava, on her journey of self-discovery and protection of those she loves. As a lady, she enjoys all of the perks and fluff of a noble born heir, until her world is turned upside down amidst political turmoil and unforeseen magical happenstances. She is determined to come out the other side stronger, and we love a powerful leading lady!!!! This book had me on the edge of my seat for the entire ride. I was panting from the suspense. The story was beautifully written, and it made an absolutely amazing start to what I know will be an amazing series. The character development and the plot are so intense that it will leave you breathless begging for more. I'm prob being harsh, but considering the double life we're told she's been leading she's rather naive and it lowkey irked me to no end that she doesn't really take agency for herself for so long 🙈 For fans of ACOTAR another T vs R set up with same initials and everything, hardly reinventing the wheel here altho there is an added dimension of teacherXapprentice no romance allowed vibes - but with Mercurials hints I've a feeling I know how they're going to get around this 🤔 My ebook's map is so tiny, stretched and approximate I had to take a master in topology to understand a single thing I was seeing. Didn't work.

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