Mark Reads ‘The Will of the Empress’: Chapter 4

In the fourth chapter of The Will of the Empress, the foster siblings attempt to adjust to their new life in Namorn. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Will of the Empress.

Oh lord, this is going to be so interesting.


It’s been really fun to see which character I’ll end up relating to most in these Emelan books. It changes constantly based on the situations in each story and how the main characters react to them. Here, though, I easily find myself drawn to Tris. Look, I’ll simply never be comfortable around luxury. A couple years ago, my partner at the time got a chance to stay a free night at a Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, so we took a trip there just for the occasion. On the one hand, it was such an absurdly decadent experience that I was unable to ever feel like I could relax. There were two showers in the bathroom. TWO. WHY DO YOU NEED TWO OF THEM. (Actually, I’ll immediately rescind that because one of them was a steam shower and that was heavenly.) There were televisions in the mirrors. The sheets were some kind of eight-billion-count Egyptian cotton or something. I got to experience turn-down service for the first time. Do you understand how jarring that is if you’ve never seen it happen???

Imagine this: we’ve just checked into our hotel room, I’m changing into shorts because it’s hot as hell, and someone is knocking on the door. I answer it – in my underwear because I have no shame, apparently – and there’s a woman there, and she keeps saying something I can’t quite make out. “Mumble mumble service,” it sounds like.

I kept shaking my head and saying, “No, I didn’t order anything,” and she just walks past me with a smile on her face, walks into the bedroom, folds the top of the comforter down, puts chocolate on the pillow, and then leaves. I WAS SO CONFUSED, I ALMOST CALLED THE FRONT DESK TO YELL AT THEM. My ex had to calm me down and assure me that this happened all the time.

Unfortunately, my other interactions in that hotel were not so funny. Wow, rich people sure have a knack for making sure you know that they know that you don’t have money.


I’m satisfied that Pierce is so frank here, perhaps more so than she’s been in the past. Part of that feels that way because Briar is so open about sex. There’s a shocking element to it for the other foster-siblings because, as Daja points out, they never gradually transitioned into these kinds of conversations. They were apart for years, and now they just have to deal with this as a reality of their lives.

I’m just glad they’re dealing with it and that Pierce is so open about it. These characters casually discuss contraception and birth control without any stigma attached to it. Yes, this is wishful thinking on my part, but I hope that the open nature of this inspires readers to think about doing the same.


I think one thing I’ve done with this text so far is severely misjudge just how much responsibility Sandry has before her. Ambros arrives in the middle of the night in the second half of this chapter, and from his conversation with Sandry and Briar, I was able to get a sense for how massive this undertaking is going to be. Obviously, Ambros’s disappointment over Sandry’s plan to leave in the fall plays a part in that, but this passage in particular caught my attention:

“Would staying here be so bad?” he asked. “You have hardworking tenants who would adore you, and lands that require the touch of their rightful mistress. True, we have some malcontents, but they are everywhere. We could easily double our mule breeding if you were to grant us the monies to do so. And grain dealers need a hand on the rein. I caught Holab trying to short-weight us on barley twice last year. If you don’t watch them every second…”

The physical size of this task is huge, and the sheer amount of stuff she’ll have to oversee is overwhelming to me. I hadn’t thought about how many people would depend on her, either. All of this has been covered by Ambros thus far, and I imagine that there’s a part of him that wouldn’t mind if he continued at the job, but that’s not how it’s done in Namorn, is it? Then Ambros has to go and make a suggestion that Sandry get married, and it became clear to me that Sandry was up against way more than an over-eager Empress. This entire culture has a very specific way of doing everything, and Sandry doesn’t quite match up to their expectations. How will her friends assist her with all of this? What if she discovers that she can’t just abandon her obligations? THESE ARE GOOD QUESTIONS TO BE ASKING. And I’m excited the text is making me ask them.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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