The Mirror Empire

Kameron Hurley
The Mirror Empire Cover

Weird, wonderful, and bombastic epic fantasy: The Mirror Empire


I tried to start this review with a plot and character introduction, as I usually do... and then found that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't succinctly summarize the premise of The Mirror Empire. Suffice to say, The Mirror Empire is the most complex and imaginative take on epic fantasy I have read in a long, long time. It follows a wide cast of characters with disparate story arcs and from a variety of backgrounds. It has alternate realities, blood magic, brutal wars and genocide, assassins, sentient, carnivorous plant life, people who ride bears... and that's only scratching the surface.

I found that the strengths and weaknesses of this book mirrored each other (ha... ha... ha). The Mirror Empire doesn't rely on the tropes that usually help us intuit what is going on in an epic fantasy, and because of that it takes longer to make sense of the setting, characters, and system of magic. There are political groups, ethnic backgrounds, governing and military systems, religious beliefs, family structures, all with their own new and inventive twists. The result is a profusion of fresh and fascinating ideas, all grand in scope – but also a narrative that embraces breadth at the cost of an indepth look into any particular elements of the world building.

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