Lady Sandrilene(Sandry) has been invited to visit her lands in the Namorn Empire by her cousin--the Empress. Sandry decides she can no longer ignore the many invitations from her cousin when she starts to make political threats. Her three friends from the Winding Circle agree to accompany her as guards. Sandry is eager to get to spend time with her friends as they have all been traveling the last few years. Sandry is hoping to reconnect with them on this journey.
This was the first series I have read from Tamora Pierce, and I enjoyed it. I have not read The Circle Opens series which introduces these characters, but I found it easy enough to follow what was happening. The Will Of The Empress is the first book in The Circle Reforged series, that currently has three books. Although this one was written first, it is not the first if you follow the timeline of events.
I thought Pierce created a compelling world with interesting powers and ways to channel them. I liked the idea of a thread mage who uses a special sewing kit to channel her powers, a weather mage that has her powers braided in her hair, and a lot of other cool powers.
While the fantasy aspects of the story were interesting, I appreciate that Pierce addressed serious issues in this book as well. Her characters deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and relationship issues--friendship, family, and romantic. There is also discussion of political problems, blackmail, and responsibility of a landowner to their tenants. These issues are woven into the story in a compelling way, and makes for an intriguing story.
If you are looking for a fun fantasy read that also addresses some serious issues this is a good book to read.