Emperor's Hostages

Rated 3.67/5 based on 3 reviews
Wren, a shape shifter with flawed magic, must become hostage of an emperor before he can find freedom for himself and his captive king. However his struggle embroils a nation in conflict, and he must save a little girl's life or die. More

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Words: 120,720
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301209170
About Gloria Piper

When working in biology, I missed art. When working in art, I missed biology. It took a bout of multiple chemical sensitivities to limit me to writing. At last here was a niche in which I felt old-clothes comfortable. At last I could indulge all my interests, from art and science to nature and spirituality, from reality to fantasy. My most recent awards range from honorable mention to editor's choice for my science fiction and fantasy writing.

I live in Northern California with my husband of late years who thinks I'm the most beautiful lady he's ever met and tells me a hundred times a day in a hundred ways how much he loves me.

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Reviews

Review by: Dominique Mahon on June 26, 2013 :
In my personal opinion, the general idea of the shape-shifter concept was definitely a nice twist to the story line. The author often provided many descriptive details that centered on the ever-changing personalities/identities of Wren. The story plot had a nice concept in mind, although I found few things a little challenging to understand during my reading.

One, I believe the story could have done without the prologue. It just seemed so unnecessary and really didn’t offer much to the story. I actually re-read the first three chapters over without the prologue and it seemed to flow just fine.

Secondly, I think the author was trying to convey too much in one story. The pace of the story seemed to alter extremely too fast, which often made it a little difficult to follow in the readings with the characters immediately changing throughout the story. I understood the shaping-shift concept and the swift perceptions that the reader was attempting to convey, but it would have been nice if the author had conveyed the details a little slower, opposed to rushing through some of the descriptions.

Thirdly, I think it was an interesting twist how the author tried to alternate between first and third person, but the transition didn’t seem at ease for a reader. Once again, if the first and second considerations were corrected accordingly, then the flow of the story would have been a little easier to follow.

Overall, I believe the storyline was good but could use a little bit of tweaking. I think with the overall story line, the author could have broken it down into two books and it would have been a lot better.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Anne Carlisle on Feb. 24, 2013 :
For me, there is a cartoonish quality to the rapidity with which things change in the shapeshifter world. Authors of such fiction sometimes offer not more than a sentence for readers to digest exactly who or what is seen before she/he/it wings into a new shape, gender, or essence. I had a dizzying experience at the opening of Emperor's Hostages by Gloria Piper.

I re-read the prologue several times and still was confused about what happens in the woods and the basic nature of the two characters. In chapter 2, the point-of-view suddenly switches into first person, and as to the identity of the narrative voice, I was clueless.

In my opinion, the overall pace needs to be slowed and care taken to be clearer, especially since multiple characters abound on every page. That said, the sentences in themselves are finely honed bits of work, with excellent imagery and action verbs.

Here is a typical paragraph, at the midpoint. "Meanwhile rumors and speculation flooded the Cloister, reaching En and Yon, two brothers newly fated by the Wheel to grub in the Cloister. They hoed to the end of the field, dropped their tools, and slid into the bushes. I alerted ben Saludin, he told Zhin, and Zhin found them. The new men hollowed out their hiding places in the bamboo. "

There is powerful writing here -short, active verbs driving the sentences - that would be invigorating to read, except for too many characters being thrown together. In this same paragraph, besides the aforementioned characters, there are "landlord knights," "servants," "the festival crowd, "and "two fugitives." Too many to keep track of and too much to digest in a short space for my comfort zone. However, this book would be an excellent read "as is" for those who can't get enough shapeshifting and rapid-fire action.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Anne Carlisle on Feb. 24, 2013 :
For me, there is a cartoonish quality to the rapidity with which things change in the shapeshifter world. Authors of such fiction sometimes offer not more than a sentence for readers to digest exactly who or what is seen before she/he/it wings into a new shape, gender, or essence. I had a dizzying experience at the opening of Emperor's Hostages by Gloria Piper. I re-read the prologue several times and still was confused about what happens in the woods and the basic nature of the two characters. In chapter 2, the point-of-view suddenly switches into first person, and as to the identity of the narrative voice, I was clueless.
In my opinion, the overall pace needs to be slowed and care taken to be clearer, especially since multiple characters abound on every page. That said, the sentences in themselves are finely honed bits of work, with excellent imagery and action verbs.
Here is a typical paragraph, at the midpoint. "Meanwhile rumors and speculation flooded the Cloister, reaching En and Yon, two brothers newly fated by the Wheel to grub in the Cloister. They hoed to the end of the field, dropped their tools, and slid into the bushes. I alerted ben Saludin, he told Zhin, and Zhin found them. The new men hollowed out their hiding places in the bamboo. "
There is powerful writing here -short, active verbs driving the sentences - that would be invigorating to read, except for too many characters being thrown together. In this same paragraph, besides the aforementioned characters, there are "landlord knights," "servants," "the festival crowd, "and "two fugitives." Too many to keep track of and too much to digest in a short space for my comfort zone. However, this book would be an excellent read "as is" for those who can't get enough shapeshifting and rapid-fire action.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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