Posts Tagged: The Mirror Empire


Via the Barnes & Noble Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog, Angry Robot Books and Kameron Hurley revealed the cover art for Empire Ascendant, the sequel to 2014’s The Mirror Empire, and one of my most anticipated novels of the year. As is typical for Angry Robot and artist Richard Anderson (responsible for many great recent covers, including “The Builders” by Daniel Polansky, The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley, and Time Salvager by Wesley Chu), it’s absolutely gorgeous.

“I was floored when I got the sketch for the cover of Empire Ascendant, and blown away by the final version,” Hurley told Joel Cunningham of the Barnes & Noble Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog. “It’s an extraordinary piece of art that perfectly captures the high stakes of the book and its key characters.”

“[I wanted] to contrast the massive, cold, army invading, with the calmness and strength of the two main characters at the table,” Anderson added.

About the Book

Loyalties are tested when worlds collide…

Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.

Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.

But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?

The Mirror Empire was one of my favourite novels of 2014, and, no pressure, I expect the sequel to continue Hurley’s trend of pushing the boundaries of epic fantasy. Empire Ascendant will hit shelves on October 6, 2015 and is available now for pre-order.

Cover art for The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Buy The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley: Book/eBook

Today, Angry Robot Books announced that they have purchased The Broken Heavens, the concluding volume to Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Saga, which began last year with The Mirror Empire (Review).

“The Mirror Empire saw her burst from the gates as a fully-formed A-list fantasy author,” said Marc Gascoigne, Publisher at Angry Robot Books. “Empire Ascendant, as readers will soon discover for themselves, shows her relaxing into her powers, utterly in command of her characters and their world. Now it’s time to see what she does by way of a third act and I, along with her many fans, cannot wait.”

What can readers expect from the final volume in the trilogy? “Get ready for the end of the world – Hurley style,” the author said.

Empire Ascendant, the second book in the trilogy, is due for release in October 2015. However, somewhat curiously, readers will have to wait until Fall 2017 for The Broken Heavens—the delay being the result of Angry Robot’s sale in 2014. Sandwiched between the releases is The Stars Are Legion, Hurley’s space opera from Saga Press, due out in 2016.

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Publisher: Angry Robot Books - Pages: 544 - Buy: Book/eBook

On the surface, The Mirror Empire, the first volume in Hurley’s The World Breaker Saga, is an epic fantasy about two warring empires. Not a wholly original concept, but Hurley’s take on the familiar story is a relentless avalanche of a novel that crams so many original ideas — clever magic, the intertwining politics of the warring empires, cultures with non-binary genders — that the familiarity of the overall plot is a beacon for readers to orient themselves while navigating Hurley’s twisted imagination. Her willingness to overtly and wholly subvert conventional genre tropes, specifically the Hero’s Journey1, is a testament to both Hurley’s understanding of the genre and her willingness to tear the house down around her just so she can build it up again. The Mirror Empire works both as a traditional secondary world fantasy, and as a complete dissection of the genre — few authors have the chops to pull off such a bold narrative. Read More »

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Publisher: Angry Robot Books - Pages: 544 - Buy: Book/eBook
Cover art for The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

In the world of Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire, where magic users draw their power from one of three heavenly satellites, a dark star is rising, one whose ascendance heralds a time of cataclysmic change and war between realities. For Lilia, who crossed from one world to another in childhood, fleeing the wrath of an alternate, militaristic version of the peaceful Dhai culture she now inhabits, this means discovering her mother’s hidden legacy before it can destroy her. For Akhio, the younger brother and now unexpected heir of Dhai’s deceased leader, Oma’s rise brings politicking and treachery, both from Dhai’s traditional enemies and from within his own state. For Zezili, the half-blood daijian general of matriarchal Dorinah, charged by her alien empress with exterminating the nation’s daijian population, it means an uneasy alliance with women from another world; women whose plans are built on blood and genocide. For Rohinmey, a novice parajista who dreams of adventure, Oma brings the promise of escape – but at a more terrible cost than he could ever have imagined. And for Taigan, a genderfluid assassin and powerful omajista bound in service to the Patron of imperial Saiduan, it means watching cities burn as invading armies walk between worlds with the aim of destroying his. How many realities are there? Who can travel between them? And who will survive Oma’s rise?

The Mirror Empire hooked me in from the very first page.

The Mirror Empire, the first volume of the Worldbreaker Saga, is Hugo Award-winning writer Kameron Hurley’s fourth novel, and from the minute I first saw the blurb, I knew I had to read it. The entire concept – backstabbing politics, polyamorous pacifists, violent matriarchs, sentient plant-monsters, doors between worlds – is basically my personal catnip, and when you throw in my enjoyment of Hurley’s first novel, God’s War, my expectations at the outset were understandably high. Which is ordinarily a risk factor: the more I invest in a story beforehand, the more likely I am to wind up disappointed. But The Mirror Empire, with its sprawling, fascinating mix of original cultures, political wrangling – both within the narrative and as cultural commentary – and vivid, brilliant worldbuilding, hooked me in from the very first page. The only reason it took me so long to read, in fact, was a personal reticence to have the story end: I’ve been drawing it out over weeks and months, prolonging the inevitable.

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What We Didn’t See:
Power, Protest, Story*

My parents taught me not to stare.

My parents taught me not to stare.

As children, even as adults, prolonged staring at others is something we do when we first encounter difference. It’s a long, often critical or fascinated look at something to try and understand it, to gauge where it fits in our taxonomy of things. First: is this a threat? Should I respond with a fight…or flight? Second: where does this person fit within my existing boxes? Woman or man? Black or white? Friend or foe?

We have nice neat boxes for everything, boxes we learned in childhood which have been reinforced by stories, by media, by our peers, as we grow older. We stare longest when we cannot fit what we see into an existing box; when we cannot figure out if it’s dangerous, or merely different: which many of us, unfortunately, still feel are the same thing.

And, if after staring long enough, we decide that this different thing is dangerous: we kill it.

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