Skip to main content

Empress Wu: Rise by Jeff Hortman and Andrew Knighton: A Book Review


Empress Wu: Rise
Author: Jeff Hortman, Andrew Knighton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Peachill
Release Date: February 11, 2018
Pages: 206
Source: Publicist in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: In a world of choreographed behavior. A trap of etiquette and standardized rules. In the palace of the most powerful kingdom on Earth. In the midst of this web of constraint and rigid authority, one woman triumphed over centuries of ritual. One Machiavellian courtesan rose above the rules and became the most powerful ruler in the world.

     My Review: This novel chronicles Empress Wu’s rise to becoming the queen consort to Emperor Gaozong. As a young girl, Wu meets a fortune teller that says her destiny is to be a king. Even though this seems like an impossible future, Wu still dreams one day of ruling China. Years later, she is given an opportunity to become the concubine to Emperor Taizong. The position of concubine seems to Wu a life of luxury at the palace. When she arrives at the palace, she realises that she is more of a maid rather than a glamorous concubine. She continues her life at the palace working until Emperor Taizong’s death is near. However, it is when she catches the eye of the crown prince. They both fall in love with each other. When Emperor Taizong dies, Wu is forced to go to the convent. However, the new emperor is determined to bring her back to the palace. With Wu winning the new emperor’s heart, she finds a way to return to the palace and ultimately becoming empress.

     After reading a few historical fiction books on Empress Wu, I was curious to see how they portray her character. She has had a negative reputation throughout history. She has even been accused of killing her own daughter. Thus, I was curious to see how these authors have painted her. When we first meet Wu, she is an innocent but very intelligent girl. She is also dreamy and dreams of a big future. During Emperor Taizong’s reign, she is a concubine of no importance. However, there were some moments where she was cunning and plotted to live a more glamorous lifestyle. Still, this is a very sympathetic take on Empress Wu. The authors show her as a woman who experiences many tragedies and is heartbroken when she loses her loved ones. However, she does not let the tragedies get to her.  She is also shown to have glimpses of arrogance and proves herself to be a capable politician among the male ministers.

     Overall, this novel emphasizes the personal tragedies and obstacles Empress Wu makes as she slowly rises to the throne. Besides Empress Wu, most of the characters were very one-dimensional. After reading this novel, I came away not fully understanding the characters. The novel is very well-written and it made medieval China come alive. The story ended in a cliffhanger, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. I recommend this novel for those who would like to read about Ancient China, strong queens, and political intrigue. Empress Wu: Rise proves that this empress is just as fascinating as Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, and Queen Victoria.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem by Dave Tamanini: A Book Review

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem Author: Dave Tamanini Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Publisher: David F Tamanini Release Date: 2020 Pages: 317 Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: If you love historical fiction... come revisit Salem's terror in this provocative new telling of enslaved Tituba, no longer a caricature, but a fully human woman with magical powers.      Come! Let Tituba cast its spell with a unique and tantalizing tale that explores the wild emotions driving accusations of witchcraft in 1692.      A Promise and a Hope      Enslaved Tituba has been faithful to a promise to her dying mama in Africa. She has appeased the masters from Barbados to Boston to Salem and waited for her magic.      A Mother’s Agony      When Tituba’s only son dies trying to escape slavery, her life changes forever. After enduring the crush only a mother can feel, she rages and turns to vengeance.      Witches Tear into Salem      The villagers see wi

Blog Tour: Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles by Will Bashor

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles [history/biographical nonfiction] Release date: June 15, 2020 Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages Author’s page | Goodreads SYNOPSIS Synopsis: This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.       When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantas