Heroes of the Empire

Book 2: The General

Young Adult - Adventure
488 Pages
Reviewed on 02/26/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In Israh Azizi's first Heroes of the Empire series book, Velamir, a Chishman Academy student, confronts mortality on a perilous mission with three peers that becomes a reckoning of his past. Natassa, the emperor's daughter, plans to escape from an unwanted marriage, risking her life for freedom. In the second book, The General, Mordon's devotion shatters after a merciless Tariqin onslaught. Captured and thrust into a war camp among former adversaries, he is presented with an unexpected opportunity by the enemy and faces an unprecedented trial. Meanwhile, Coralie bears the weight of her kingdom's stability following a brutal assault and her uncle's ailing health. She seeks aid from unlikely allies in Verintown, risking all to secure her realm's survival against an imminent Tariqin resurgence.

Israh Azizi shows us that the second book in a series, when written well, can be just as triumphant in how it pulls its readers in as the first, and The General is proof of this. One of the most important aspects as we see two leads growing into themselves, their roles, and what they are destined to be is that they feel organic and unforced. Mordon's decision to help an injured Savorian during the training exercise hints at the battles within as we see the possibility of redemption despite his troubled past. Coralie's response to the fears of her staff juxtaposes her determination with her vulnerability as she acknowledges their doubts and vows to protect the kingdom. Velamit and Natassa's storylines also grow, and Azizi goes hard with emotional responses, particularly when questions of loyalty, betrayal, and sacrifice emerge. Overall, this is a fantastic read that ends with the promise of more to come, and I look forward to seeing where we go next.