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The Weeping Empress Hardcover – December 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Terrific!" - H. Wissman, Sixpence Press

"a consistently nuanced notion of good and evil--which is refreshing in the genre."- Kirkus Indie

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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.  --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1105232883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1105232886
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A reader, like the main character, Chiyu (whose name I pronounce in my head like the latter portion of an explosive sneeze), is likely to begin this story a bit disoriented. Here we have a perfectly normal woman in her night clothes inexplicably surrounded by the gristle and blood of broken bodies, soldiers in tunics hacking medievally at citizens, and two invincible warriors resisting them.

Holy beans! (or something equally, if not more profane) you think to yourself. Where on God's green Earth are we? How do I return to whence I came? Nevermind that. Let's get out of here.

Chiyu obediently follows this same train of thought, linking up with fleeing citizens, the two warriors guiding them to safety. Pretty standard stuff that proceeds about as much as you might expect. Then, after all of their efforts, the two epic heroes do something shocking (a euphamism that with any more detail would be considered a spoiler) and at the same time we learn about a fairly striking prophecy. At this point the story takes off.

From this point on I enjoyed this story. Not that I didn't enjoy the story leading up to this unexpected turn of events and important reveal, but this is the point where the tale entered fabled New Territory, piquing my interest as it had not before. Suffice to say, characters we anticipated might be archetypal and bland were abruptly not so. I'll spare readers any further detail outside of this small tidbit: the title fits, as you might expect.

As an added bonus, I enjoyed the tidbits of scripture, or what have you, provided at the outset of each chapter, giving us an insight toward a prevailing religion and shaping the ensuing story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sadie is an incredible writer. I got drawn into Chiyo's world from page one and couldn't put it down until I finished.

The book started with Chiyo not knowing where she was or what was happening, and as I went through the same emotions, it had an effect on me as if I was there, going through the same situations. That created an emotional bond with Chiyo, which intensified as the story progressed.

I'm a huge fan of Japanese world, their tradition, and sense of morale and duty, so I was rather susceptible to this kind of story, and was enchanted by the dance of the good and bad Sadie created. It really makes you think how you'd react, you are pulled deep into character's psyche, you start to understand their reasoning and motivations behind their doings, and although they are killing people, that doesn't bother you. Somehow, I viewed them as the "good guys" and fell in love with their personalities.

The biggest thrill this book caused was my own redefinition of good and bad. I was so happy that the characters were not typically goodish or notoriously bad, that they walked the edge of grey, as well as the fact that the book did not end in a perceivable way. What creeped me out is how much I was in tune with the characters, how their actions were not so odd to me, how much I felt as part of their group. Well, I guess that makes me a weirdo. :)

There's nothing beautiful in being ripped out of your happy, cozy life, losing everything and everyone you loved. But there is something beautiful in surrendering to the beast inside of you, in grotesqueness of killing, in mind's power over the body, and the self-discipline. In a very dark and destructive way, you find out who you truly are, what you're capable of, what you're made of. If I compare her previous happy life and this one, I say she was given an opportunity of a lifetime. She could have had a normal, happy life, but what's so spectacular about that?
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Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book because of the grippingly vague synopsis, but unfortunately the grippingly vague synopsis is exactly why I couldn't like it. I went into reading The Weeping Empress knowing neither the context nor the setting. Eventually Chiyo's sudden displacement is explained by a bit of spiritual power, a bit of time travel, but because it isn't stated explicitly, overall this book was very confusing and hard to keep up with.

The exodus of the goddess Kali wreaks havoc upon dynasty-era Japan, which is the time period to when Chiyo one day wakes up. The beginning of this book is awfully slow--as is the end, but at least stuff happens, then; I really had to struggle to get there. In fact, it isn't clear what's happened to Chiyo until the very last few pages, which does serve as a surprising, fitting plot twist, but I would have preferred not to plow through more than 200 pages to encounter it.

As Chiyo becomes unsettlingly involved in the social upheaval of the Samurai, her anger, vengeance, and mental instability soon make her realize the cruelty in herself, and the purpose it serves in fate's even crueler decisions.

I wish I had better things to say about The Weeping Empress but overall it's just excruciatingly sluggishly paced and most of the content doesn't flow well. The premise was promising, but the execution rather disappointing, and the characters unexplored.
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