The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

A review?

AMBITIOUS, CREATIVE, FANTASTICAL, DIVERSE, EPIC.

Once again Hurley has shown us that she is an absolute force. I can only imagine how daunting this project was purely because of how epic in scope it is. I think the word dense could be used to describe this book (I don’t mean that in a bad way), there is so much worldbuilding, there are so many characters, there are so many cultures and histories and we get to dive into it all. She doesn’t hold us back. She gives us as readers everything she has and she smashed it out of the park. This is the longest book by Hurley I have read and as with her other stories she doesn’t waste words. Every word on the page has a purpose. I fucking love that.
There is so much going on in this book that at times I needed to put it down and take a moment, just so that I didn’t rush or skim, so I could take in as much as possible, so I could properly appreciate each storyline that is weaved with delicate mastery throughout.


The Mirror Empire by Kameron HurleySynopsis –
On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.
As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.


The plot is original and typical of the way Hurley writes. She seems to enjoy looking at what can make a character or society behave a certain way. How small and large decisions can completely alter our paths. Another common theme in her books is the control and oppression of people through withholding education. We have gender fluid characters, an entire culture that asks before touching and characters with physical handicaps. Hurley’s worlds are often bleak, and people have to fight for survival and this is no different, but it’s what makes her characters shine. Hurley’s books and themes are always relevant.
She doesn’t give us an easy option as to who the good guys are. People may do bad things, but what makes them so different from us. How do we know we aren’t becoming just like those we fight in the process of trying to hold them back? Who are we to say we wouldn’t have made those decisions under similar circumstances? Her characters are incredibly human, they are the good parts, the bad parts and the wish we were parts.

“People do not take actions based on logic. We make choices based on emotion. Every one of us. Then we use what we call logic to justify our choices. People don’t do things that make sense.”

Once again Hurley had me hooked with the first line and kept me coming back for more. I had one moment of thinking the pacing was off, it just seemed as though something that for me was a major moment was over much to quickly, but otherwise the pacing worked really well. Moving between the different storylines meant I was never bored and I was always ready to find out what was happening elsewhere in the world.

Diving into The Mirror Empire was not a decision I made lightly, as honestly, this was my second attempt. Hurley’s writing pulled me right in but the story was A LOT. I found it hard to get into and I was not in the right headspace. This time, my brain wasn’t so foggy. I knew that there was going to be a lot going on in the plot, but I also knew that it would be worth it.
I love Hurley’s storytelling, I love her worlds, I love her characters, I love how far she pushes her characters. I love that she writes HER story and trusts the reader to get it.

Get your own copy – AMAZON

Title – The Mirror Empire
Author – Kameron Hurley
Released – August 2014
Publisher – Angry Robot

2 thoughts on “The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley”

  1. It is A LOT, I totally agree 😀

    This book – as well as the second – confused me like crazy! But I still was super hooked and enjoyed reading about the different characters! It’s so inventive and epic! I didn’t mind too much whether I missed some things haha

    Like

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