The Masked Empire (Dragon Age #4)
by Patrick Weekes
What is it about:
Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now, the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.
Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian Chevaliers , Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress But has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the Chevalier’s Code, to make Orlais strong again.
Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, subtly using her position to help improve the lives of elves across Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover, but when politics force the empress to choose between the rights of Briala’s people and the Orlesian throne, Briala must in turn decide where her true loyalties lie.
Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais But in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.
What did I think of it:
Being the Dragon Age fanpiggy I am, I'd most probably picked up this book no matter who wrote it, but knowing this book was written by the same person who wrote some of my favorite Mass Effect and Dragon Age characters and Mass Effect story arcs, I was quite excited to read this book. Even though I am totally not a fan of Briala in the game!
And this is a great read!
I will confess this book didn't manage to redeem Briala - it even made me dislike her more - but I loved the story and extra world building it gave me. I also liked getting to know more about Celine, Gaspard and Briala. (And it makes I'm now even more thorn on what to decide in Dragon Age: Inquisition where it comes to Orlais.)
I loved learning more about life in the cities of Orlais, both for the high born and the elves. There's also a questy trip through the countryside and the woods that I very much enjoyed.
There was one really cool character - Felassan - who was my favorite. Some remarks by Felassan made that the ending wasn't really a surprise for me. Still this was a really cool story!
All in all another must have for fans of the games, and I already ordered the one missing book in this series so I can read that one soon as well.
Why should you read it:
It's a really cool Dragon Age novel