The Weeping Empress

The Weeping Empress - Sadie S. Forsythe The story begins with a glimpse into Chiyo’s modern life as a wife and a mother. As she goes to bed with thoughts and plans forming in her mind for the next day, she has no idea about how her life is going to take an unexpected turn. She wakes up in the middle of a fight in a timeline she knows little about. As her human instincts of self-preservation takes over, she turns from trying to run away to safety to fighting for her life. Soon the story starts to build a certain momentum, once Chiyo realizes that it is not a dream and that her chances of going back to her alternate secure life is slim, she decides to follow the two warriors and train herself. Soon she is involved in prophecies and bloody encounters that raise a dormant beast within her. A beast that wants more action, more blood and mostly revenge for what she had lost.

The plot is unique in the sense that it merges historical fiction with time travel, a large dose of religion, some culture and a lot of action and drama. The author has done a fine job of taking us to a time when people are starting to lose faith in God and believe (rather scared) of the tyranny of the current emperor. Whether describing characters, or a fight or the train of thought of a particular character, the language describing it all makes it a great read. Also there is a smooth flow in the language also makes the transition easier when the narration switches from character to character and giving us readers an idea about what exactly each character is thinking at any crucial part. And for someone like me, who had almost zero idea about swords and fighting styles, it was really a fascinating read. The experience was only made better with some expected and some unexpected twists in it.

Now coming to the characters – my favourite part of any story – I have to say that Chiyo had me confused for a while. At the beginning I thought that her transformation from a housewife to a warrior was too rapid. How can a nurturing and caring mother turn into someone blood thirsty within such a short span? How can someone used to a secured environment suddenly become so ruthless. But as the story continued, I realized that Chiyo was meant to be a ruthless warrior and all those traits had been dormant within her in her life as a mother. Besides one should never underestimate the rage of Mother who is taken away from her child, right?

The other two dominating characters are Senka and Muhjah. Muhjah is jovial (well compared to Senka everybody is fun-loving) and Senka is the reserved - thinker. Their personalities are so polar opposites, yet they make a perfect team together. They moved as one and fought as one. Their bond reminded me of the famous “Jai and Veeru” duo. [For those who are not aware of Jai and Veeru, they are fictional characters from Sholay – an evergreen Bollywood movie] They lived by their own rules and they lived to fight. But yes, I loved Senka the most.

Overall, it is a well-balanced and well written novel that everyone with a strong heart should read.