Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Twilight Empress by Faith L. Justice

Title: Twilight Empress
Author: Faith L. Justice

Publication: May 8th 2017 by Raggedy Moon Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooksKobo | Smashwords

Rating: 4/5

One woman battles the coming Dark Ages. "Twilight Empress" tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman: Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman Empress and Gothic Queen, Placidia does the unthinkable: she rules the failing Western Roman Empire. A life of ambition, power, and intrigue she doesn't seek, but can't refuse, her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her intelligence, tenacity, and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun?


If there's a type of story I like more than anything it's books about little-known and strong women from history. As someone who's a self-proclaimed history geek I always jump on the chance to read books like this. That's why I loved Twilight Empress so much, along with several other reasons I will state below. It's also been a long time since I stayed up late to finish a book, which is what I did with this one. I just couldn't stop reading and had this intense need to know how it all would end. 

Twilight Empress takes place in the 5th century in the Western Roman Empire that is declining steadily and Placidia is the sister to one of the last Roman Emperors, Honorius. The story starts with her having to flee and getting taken hostage by Alaric, king of the Visigoths who successfully sacked Rome. I can sincerely say I was hooked right from the very first page. The story and the character of Placidia as well as several of the side characters fascinated me so much. It was hard to put the book down because I didn't want to stop reading. 

What captivated me the most, though, was the writing. I loved the lush descriptions because they made me really feel as if I was in the Late Antiquity that the story takes place in. That's honestly all I want from a story, especially when it's historical fiction. As for secondary characters, I loved so many of them. I absolutely loved Placidia's first husband Ataulf (who was also king of the Visigoths), Lucilla, Sigisvult... so there was definitely no lack of great characters to get invested in and rooting for.

There were so many various themes in this book that I almost couldn't keep track of them. There's love, revenge, loss, obligation and so on. Placidia felt it all so very deeply and changed immensely from the beginning of the book until the very end. The tragedies she experienced throughout her life were extremely sad but they also gave her the purpose to go on. I must admit that I didn't always liked her as a person but that's why her character developement was remarkably on point in that area, which is something that I think is very important in any book. The author did that very nicely.  

As always I would highly recommend any future readers of this book to read the author's note because she goes more into how historically accurate the story actually was (I think she did well in that area) and how she shaped the story. She mentions in it that she fell in love with the Theodosian women: Placidia, Pulcheria and Athenais. Those last two were also characters in this book. I can say that I feel the same now because I just want to research them and learn everything there is to know about them. Overall, I really enjoyed Twilight Empress and can't wait to read more books by Faith L. Justice. I want to read them all!

Author bio:
Faith L. Justice writes award-winning novels, short stories and articles published in venues such as Salon.com, Writer's Digest, and The Copperfield Review. A varied life provides the staples for Faith's stories. Day jobs included lifeguard, paralegal, computer systems analyst, human resources executive, college professor, and freelance writer. Travel and research provides the spice. She haunted the leading museums of Europe, tramped the streets of ancient ruins, and volunteered at archaeological sites. Currently, Faith writes in her historic home "The Suffragette House" in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and cats. Sample her stories and books, check out her blog, find out where she travels next, or ask Faith a question at her website: www.faithljustice.com.
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10 comments:

  1. I love how you make historical fiction like this come alive for someone like me who can't fathom reading historical fiction, but loves reading your reviews.

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    1. Aw thank you! I feel the same about your reviews because I don't read a lot of thrillers. ♥

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this, it sure sounds pretty intriguing. Great review too!

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    1. Thanks, Jenea! I'm really glad I enjoyed this book too.

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  3. What an interesting time period and historical figure to focus on! Not one I've come across before, but intriguing!

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    1. Yes it is! I didn't know about Placidia either before I read this book so it's been really fascinating to read about her life.

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  4. Love books revolving around strong female characters!! This sounds really good :)

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    1. I'm slowly but surely collecting a bunch of historical fiction about strong women from history. I love it!

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  5. I love these kinds of books, but I definitely have to be in the right mood for them. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR list because it sounds awesome! Great review!

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  6. Strong women in history are very intriguing to me as well. I am glad that you loved this one. :)

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