The Weeping Empress

Rated 3.40/5 based on 20 reviews
Chiyo Alglaeca was happy in her life, until it was all taken away. Forced into notoriety, stalked by a mysterious cult, hunted by the emperor, and facing betrayal at every turn she clings to the only safety she can find: two enigmatic men and the sharp bringer of death, Salvation. The Weeping Empress explores the devastating effects of loss, the hunt for redemption, and the price of destiny. More

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About Sadie S. Forsythe

Sadie Forsythe hails from the Southeastern United States, lives in Northwestern England, and is a fan of all things Japanese. She holds degrees in Anthropology/ Comparative Religion, International Criminology and Social Change. She loves local coffee shops, geek culture, everything bookish, and tea (steaming with milk and sweet iced). She is married with two daughters and an imaginary dog.

Learn more about Sadie S. Forsythe


Fajriy Arunna reviewed on Sep. 29, 2016

Chiyo finds herself in the middle of a battle of unknown people in the unknown land. She has her memory but no idea of how she got there. Joining other survivors, she hopes to find a way back to her life with her family. Along the way, she learns that she is involved in something beyond the level she can understand.
I read the first few pages quickly, aiming to get the answer or clue, just as Chiyo does. As her confusion, curiosity, and anger grow, so did mine. Realizing the answer was not there, I gave up and let the story takes me into whatever lies in it. I found myself immersed into Chiyo's feelings, thoughts, and actions. But, what happens to Chiyo after the first half of the book is not so difficult for me to guess.
This is an interesting story about acceptance, trust, and belief with strong female lead.
(reviewed 62 days after purchase)
Marti xx reviewed on May 15, 2014

"For some, death is an art," a voice behind her said. "For others, it is merely an inevitability."

Gee, this was an interesting book. Actually, more than interesting.

Did you ever have one of those days, or periods of days, where what you really wanted to be doing was slashing a honking big sword at everybody and everything that annoyed you, and then say to yourself, 'Well, they needed killing.' Yeah. Me, too. Well, here's your chance to do that vicariously through Chiyo Alglaeca, a perfectly normal young mommie with a nice husband and a darling 3 year old child, who wakes up one bright morning to find she has been mysteriously transported to another place, and another time. Another dimension?

It seems sort of like feudal Japan, but maybe not exactly. We are never told exactly where, but there is a cruel Emperor who lives in a great castle high on a bluff, and the place is referred to as the kingdom.

Anyway, she is right in the middle of a group of conscripts being taken in lieu of money to work in some function of the Emperor. (I forget exactly. If I had a penchant for detail, I could get a real job.) Upon seeing a frail elderly woman being cruelly treated then killed for not moving fast enough, Mz. Chiyo goes into action, and well, the game is on.

Without knowing diddly squat about sword fighting, she picks one up and starts flailing away, to the amusement and interest of a couple of rebel types who have come to disrupt the human caravan, and thus provoke the Emperior, which they have being doing for years. They agree to help the group escape by taking them far away to a river border to a place they will be safe. More swordplay, more slashing and flailing, which certainly gets their attention.

The three become companions, and the two guys, Muhjah and Senka, begin to teach her how to properly handle the sword. She works hard at learning and eventually becomes an excellent warrior in her own right, and she and her two companions do a Robin Hood/Bonnie and Clyde and Clyde throughout the countryside, wrecking havoc against the forces of the Emperor.
And if all this weren't paranormal enough for you, we now introduce you to Kali, the Goddess. She had been worshipped by the animals and humans since time immemorial, but times have changed, and the humans have drifted away from her. She promises to send her Arm to free her people. And it soon becomes apparent that Chiyo is thought to be that Arm of the Goddess, and is becoming revered throughout the land, as tales of her powers and that of her two companions, begin to spread.

You know how so many sci fi, apocalypse and dystopian stories are about how we humans are destroying our resources and our planet, and how that theme, serious as it is and true, sort of gets tedious after about the 70th book? Well, this is the same, in disguise, and it isn't until after you close the book and think back on the story that you realize that it is a parable. Kali the Goddess is the Earth, and her devotees and followers who have rather abandoned her are, well, US. And how we are always looking for a savior to get us out of this mess.

Wonderful read, filled with Latin quotes, and lyrical writing. And a real kick-ass female warrior. So get your bad self on, grab a sword, and swing away!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Sandy reviewed on July 3, 2013

Cast into a world in which you might only read about, Chiyo awakes to finds herself in a battle alongside Muhjah and Senka for which they are saving refugees from a group of warriors. Her husband Michael and baby Hannah have vanished (where? She does not know) and Chiyo must figure out how she came to arrive at this nightmare of a life. Her simple life is no longer an option as she must travel with the duo to help these refugees find their freedom again. Under the care of Muhjah and Senka, Chiyo must learn to fight and learns the way of the sword to survive in her new surroundings. Chiyo becomes quite the warrior and rumors spread throughout the land that she is the Chosen One of the Goddess, fighting for the freedom and sacrificing her body for the ones held captive. How can this be, when only a while ago she was a wife and mother? Muhjah and Senka try to keep Chiyo from hearing the rumors and Chiyo doesn’t give it a second thought when the rumors pass over her ears. From the way she fights, a very strong and capable fighter, she can thank Muhjah and Senka for those skills. Between the three of them, they seize every opportunity for combat that they can find. In the meantime, the Emperor who controlled the refugees before the trio released them, sent his men out to find them as he seeks the Chosen One. He wants her to join up with him and together they will fight. But where will that leave the refugees and Muhjah and Senka? She has been traveling with these people for years learning the ways of the Sacerdotisa and they have a tight bond. As the Emperor’s people throw Chiyo in a cell, will her strength be enough to keep her alive? What will happen to Chiyo and is she the Chosen One?
Chiyo is one tough lady. To have a deaf ear and not listen to the voices of the people as they whisper behind your back when it is such a glowing review, takes a very strong individual. When the people where voicing that she was a Chosen person and she ignored it, did not question them, or did not ask Muhjah or Senka for more information that was amazing. I would have been all over that! She could have been all proud and mighty but she remained calm and reserved. Muhjah and Senka were wonderful characters and I loved them just as much as Chiyo or perhaps even more. They were witty and they fed off each other. Lots of little stories and legends intertwined in this novel which added dimension and charm. I thought Sadie paid attention to her word choice in the book and the language flowed so well during much of the novel. There were a few times though, I was overwhelmed with too many words and I had to stop and reread a section. What a wonderful, in-depth story and the ending was fantastic.
"Their bodies littered the floor like deep piles of autumn leaves."
(reviewed 63 days after purchase)
Carol reviewed on June 2, 2013

Reading this rather dark fantasy, I thought I could tell how it would conclude but it managed to surprise me. A memorable story.
(reviewed 11 months after purchase)
Diane Rapp reviewed on May 23, 2013

A dark “fairytale” worthy of the Brothers Grimm

When Chiyo wakes up in a strange world, dressed in pajamas, she’s unprepared for the violence and danger that await. How did she get there? Why did someone pluck her ordinary life with a husband and young daughter? Fortunately Chiyo meets two samurai warriors, Senka and Muhjah. Without knowing how to fight, the girl grabs a sword and jumps into the bloody battle to save herself. She gains a grain of respect from the warriors, who let her tag along in their journey.

She’s landed in a cruel world, filled with death, destruction, and unjust treatment by the rulers. Can Chiyo learn to survive while she searches for a way to return to her own world and find her family? This is not a fairytale where the lost princess finds a knight to fight her battles and lives happily ever after. This is a gritty tale of hardship and determination. Chiyo must swiftly learn to wield her own sword and steal herself against the revulsion of killing. She works hard and becomes good at it.

Chiyo joins the expert swordsmen to fight “hit and run” skirmishes against cruel rulers. Although survival fuels her efforts in the beginning, revenge becomes her motivation to live and fight day after day. Chiyo becomes a legend, and religious zealots seek to use her as a weapon to restore their power.

This is not a typical sword and sorcery tale. There’s plenty of bloody fighting, gruesome battles, dramatic sword play, and distasteful torture. Chiyo is not an ordinary beautiful damsel in distress. She dives in and wields a sword, learns to cultivate the “monster” inside that enjoys fighting, and wins one battle at a time. Chiyo won’t let others control her destiny, and uses her own sorrow and anger to wreak a just revenge. It’s a “fairytale” worthy of the Brothers Grimm but not one fit for children.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
B. M. Polier reviewed on Jan. 6, 2013

I give this 3.5 stars. I did enjoy it, but it was much too brutal for my taste. Reminiscent of watching a Quentin Terintino film. Great story, but way too much gory detail. Also, I couldn't relate to any of the characters. They were all too vengeful and full of anger.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
hg47 reviewed on Nov. 18, 2012

I'm a new Sadie S. Forsythe fan. Empress is not my preferred type of reading, but Sadie won me over completely with her superb narrative drive. She is a GrandMaster--excuse me, GrandMistress--at narration. This book should be on bestseller lists, if there is any justice in "this world."

Now my method of dealing with time travel is to go all High Tech, get into Time Renormalizing Theory and Closed Timelike Curves and then cop-out by saying that superior aliens developed the technology which is beyond our poor human brains to understand anyway. I almost like Sadie's way better; she just dumps the time traveler into a new time: "Deal with it, girl!"

I got sucked into the story in the first few pages, and quickly became caught up in heroine Chiyo's new life. She has to fight to survive, from hour one. She chooses her allies on the enemy of my enemy theory.

The only structural flaw in this awesome story that I could see was the lack of flying weapons, like spears and arrows; but it didn't dent my enjoyment, just made me wonder why there weren't any.

Stop reading reviews! Read her free sample! If you don't buy it, I'll eat my digital bits: my 1s and 0s. @hg47
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Chris Bullock reviewed on Sep. 10, 2012

I found that the story line and plot showed great potential, but I was put off by the sometimes complicated and wordy adjectives and phrases. Unfortunately this prevented me from completing my read of the book. There were simply too many convoluted words that were either superfluous or meaningless - I feel that the novel would benefit from a simpler rewrite.
(reviewed 53 days after purchase)
Derek Broughton reviewed on Sep. 6, 2012

Perhaps I owe someone a bit of an apology. A while back, I had an argument with a self-published author who claimed that readers held indie authors to a higher standard than those published by mainstream houses. I disagreed. I have to admit that perhaps we were both right to a degree. The problem is, readers give authors a bit of a bye when their work goes through a large publishing house. It's the publisher's responsibility to see that the work is properly edited, and even when it's obvious that the writer can't write, we blame the publishers, because their editors should have caught and fixed the problem.

So, in the case of self-publishing, I still maintain, we're not harder on the author-as-author, but we may be harder on the author-as-publisher! I will repeat my mantra: no author, independent or not, can afford to publish work that has not been edited by a qualified third-party. Which gets to the long-missed point of this review —

This is a fine story, and with good editing it would be worth at least 3 stars, quite possibly 4, but the editing (if there even was any) is tragic. It's not just the silly typos ("loose" for "lose", at least three times), they're not actually much more common than in many a mainstream novel. It's the use of sentence structure that is either, at worst, bad English, or at best, local idiom. It's the use of local trade names (hands up if you know what a "Sheila maid" is - and if you do, would you expect to encounter it in an Oriental-themed fantasy?). It's redundancy: "She hadn't recalled hitting her head, but she obviously had" - if you've done your job as an author (and she did!) you don't need to insult the reader by saying "she obviously had". It's the use of words and phrases that the author has probably used all her life, but are just plain wrong: somehow, I feel a Kimono dragon is just not quite as frightening as she intended.

All in all, I'd be happy to reread the 2nd edition, when a publisher picks it up, but I'm not likely to read another self-published Forsythe.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)
Michal Ramati reviewed on Aug. 17, 2012

The book seems like a nice idea - a somewhat different riff on the being-pulled-out-of-time trope - that hasn't really fulfilled its potential. In a way, it is as if the book wasn't quite finished. Aside from the (way too many) typos, some parts of the story haven't been totally thought through. The main characters don't seem whole, their motivations aren't clear and they are very difficult to identify with. The two main supporting characters feel more like props than human beings.
The parts I liked best in this book were the prologue and the epilogue, which suggests that this book has potential, but perhaps requires another look by the author to make it work. I found myself wishing midway that the book would end soon.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)

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