Description Review: The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley

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.


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Source: This book was reviewed at Bibliotropic on August 11.


I think this sounds like a rather intriguing novel. First and foremost, we have a recurring catastrophic event that extinguishes nations and reshapes continents—I, quite frankly, would like to know what kind of even reoccurs like that.

Second, we have a smattering of characters that have been hinted at: an orphan, an illegitimate rule, a young fighter, and a half-dhai general. I’m curious about how these characters end up relating to each other, and I am hopeful that we’ll get a fair amount of good intermingling of character development and tangled plots.

This description clearly is in the camp of “give just enough information to pique the reader’s curiosity,” rather than spelling out the general plot to let you know what you’re getting yourself into. Most importantly, this makes me ask questions:

  • What is the recurring catastrophic event?
  • What happened to cause an orphan to need to escape death/slavery?
  • What is her bloody past?
  • Why is the world going to war with itself?
  • How are invaders possibly decimating whole cities (all right, that’s not the best kind of question to make me ask — to decimate is to reduce by 1/10th; by definition you can’t decimate a whole city)

Obviously this list goes on, but in my opinion it’s a good sign that your description poses those kinds of questions in that quantity. I feel like I have a reason to read the book and that I might actually gain something out of taking the time. I mean, I don’t even know who/what the Dhai are other than that have allies and seem to be one faction of a war in an alternate/futuristic war. Yet it still sounds interesting.

Yet even as this description poses questions, it is still packed full of information. We have a world clearly wracked with war, but also with some other catastrophes that have made living conditions very difficult. We have some relatively fresh ruling races/people. We have a host of characters, and we know that a group called the Dhai are somehow in the spotlight. And this is all conveyed very concisely, which is a tough thing to do. I mean, in one sentence (the third paragraph) we are introduced to several characters as well as the nature of social roles we’ll be exposed to while reading this book.

This was not an easy description to write, and it’s evident to me that care was taken in doing so.

Posted on August 20, 2014, in Description Reviews, Dystopian/Futuristic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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