MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.25/5
Format: Kindle eBook
Ser Edward, an experienced sailor, embarks on perhaps the most daring expedition of the Kingdom of Esenworth so far. His mission is to try to earn the blessing of the Reverend Sven, who is none other than his love’s father, probably the most influential man in the realm. But on his journey beset by fierce storms, he and his men encounter something that could shake to the core not only their faith, but their very concept of the world as well. Meanwhile, far from the oceans, his love, Emma, is trying to disentangle herself from the spider’s web of intrigue and scheming, into which she is being drawn ever deeper by Erick the new king.
And the dark clouds just keep gathering above – ancient beasts, stranger than ever, appear at sea, on land and even in the skies more and more frequently. They roar with a metallic screech, their eyes glow with an unnatural light, their skin hard and rigid as armor.
Can order be upheld in this age blind to divine prophecy, in the largest kingdom of the North, where the monarch’s mind is coming undone just like reality itself?
Our heroes must struggle ceaselessly to understand the hidden secrets of their world and their own origins. But what are they going to do once they have the answers?
🚨 I was given a copy of this by the author as a review request, to which, that did not affect my opinion in any way. 🚨
Sealed Empire is a solid debut with an incredibly compelling story that had me reading non-stop for two and a half days and may be one of the most unique stories I’ve read so far. The cover is so beautiful and made me instantly want to read this when I first saw it a month or two ago, like me, the cover will reel you in, but the hook will be set the moment you start the exhilarating prologue and will continue until that jaw-dropping epilogue, and you better stay for that epilogue!
There’s a lot to unpack with this story, so what I’ll start with is that this gets a bit dark around the halfway point, so content warning, there is a scene that involves rape. I love the mix of fantasy and science fiction that this brings. In a way it reminds me a bit of how Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy uses a medieval-like fantasy setting that also ties in some sci-fi elements, but unlike that series, Zsivicz does it with multiple POV’s and time jumps. There’s also an interactive map on his website that gives a lot of information for those that want to delve more into the history.
“Love is not like how they describe it in books. It takes time for true love to develop. Like a campfire that is hard to start, and the wood catches fire slowly.”
I can see why this is a Hungarian Literary Award Winner, it has such a great pacing that was never too fast and not too slow, with action that came at the perfect time to make everything feel even more tense. There was a point where I thought this was a retelling of The Odyssey, which made me start paying even more attention because of my love for not only Greek mythology, but also as a big fan of Greek retellings. As I kept reading and asking the author, I realized that it wasn’t a retelling, but I did start seeing the influences a lot more that the author used. Even though this is a stand-alone, it does leave the opportunity to expand upon the world, which is a great thing with how interesting everything ends up being.
I thought it had some great characters that had to go through so much. Since it did have a time jump and multiple POV’s in under 400 pages, it was a little difficult to truly get invested in any specific character, other than really hating the antagonist of the story, who was very easy to hate. With that said, I was still invested in what each one of the characters had to go through. This may be one of those types of stories that some people might turn out of after the rape scene, but I implore you to stick to it, because everything after that just gets absolutely crazier! Sealed Empire has its flaws, but this is an absolute page-turner and I can’t wait to see what Zsivicz had in store if he plans to make this more than just a stand-alone.