Cover Image: Heroes of the Empire Book 1: The Cavalier

Heroes of the Empire Book 1: The Cavalier

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Member Reviews

Characters: 8.5/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Worldbuilding: 8.5/10
Writing: 10/10

Score: 4.75

I feel like it's been a while since I've been able to truly just enjoy a book. Lately, none had been able to distract me enough to not scrutinise their flaws. Early on, I was a bit bothered by the repetitive use of names. I do not need to be reminded every 2nd sentence what the character's name is. But I quickly managed to immerse myself in the story.

The Cavalier is a young adult fantasy, but I loved how well it dealt with nuanced politics which was also something I'd also been missing. We get to see multiple perspectives on the current state of society from two main opposing sides, from royalty to common folk. I enjoyed the interrogation of morality. When characters start to question whether what they're doing is actually the right thing. Which is actually the “good” side? Of course both sides think it's their opponent, but as a reader, I couldn't just easily point it out. There was no clear villain.

The characters made me so conflicted. I wanted to root for most of them, but their paths would lead to them hurting each other and I didn't want the casualties on either side. Some others did bad things which made me want to hate them but they weren't inherently bad people, so I couldn't.

I am often let down by the lack of characterisation which was not the case this time. I adored the relationship Natassa had with her brother Thorsen. Meaningful and strong relationships are always something I enjoy. Platonic and familiar aren't any less important than romantic and need to be properly developed.

There are some romantic tensions between a few characters but I wouldn't even call them subplots as they are quite minor. I don't mind a romantic subplot, but I'm getting tired of the hyper-focus on romance. This is purely heavy fantasy with high stakes, lots of action, plot twists, political intrigue, a war brewing, betrayal, friendships, and family. I could not get over the people abruptly dying lol.

I do believe there will be romance in further instalments though. I just love that it wasn't shoved down my throat at the first opportunity.

The Cavalier takes medieval aesthetics with knights, princesses, and castles and puts it in a brand new world (the shape reminds me of France connected to Spain with the UK at the north though hehe) however It didn't feel like a typical medieval world. That's probably because some parts are inspired by cultures outside Central Europe. At least that's what I'm assuming since they are mostly just mentioned. I mean, there are many kingdoms and lands which probably aren't all the same? I have not really pinpointed what kind of people live where yet.

Now, here's my main critique. Naming a part The Savagelands and its inhabitants Savagelanders doesn't seem like a good idea at all. Especially if they're different people.

Other than that, the worldbuilding was complex and expansive, just the way I like it. And at the beginning, there is also quite a long character and pronunciation guide to help you out.

Arc provided by publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The first half of the book excels in establishing a rich and immersive setting, filled with intricate details and atmospheric descriptions. The author's ability to paint scenes of grandeur and evoke the ambiance of the Middle Ages is commendable. As the plot unfolds, readers are drawn into a world teeming with political intrigue, epic battles, and magical encounters. The stakes are high, and the suspense is palpable, making it difficult to put the book down.

However, as the story progresses, the narrative loses its initial grip on the reader. The promising twists and turns that engage the imagination in the first half give way to a predictable and formulaic plotline. What was once a tale brimming with surprises becomes disappointingly straightforward, leaving little room for excitement or genuine suspense. The decline in the narrative's complexity is regrettable, as it robs the story of the depth it initially promised.

Another notable flaw in Heroes of the Empire lies in the portrayal of the female main characters. While they possess the potential to be strong and influential figures, their development falls short of expectations. Their personas lack the agency and depth bestowed upon their male counterparts. It is disheartening to witness female characters reduced to mere accessories to the male heroes' journeys, missing the opportunity to explore their own arcs and contribute meaningfully to the narrative.

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I don't know if it is because I have been reading pretty amazing stories lately that this one didn't appeal as much as I thought it would. I was so excited and I feel like I need to give this one a second try. for now I'll give it a 3 stars

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Thanks, Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a fun read but at many points wasn't for me I didn't connect to any of the characters or the world in the first half I also found the book quite a bit boring even though there were happing many things.

In the end, the book just wasn't right for me
2,5 stars rounded up to 3

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I had such high hopes for this but I think the pacing is just too slow for my taste. Especially because this is a higher fantasy, I need a faster pace to get into the book. However, the writing was good and I really appreciate the concept [.

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I loved this book! There really is something for everyone; action, adventure and even romance. The plot kept me interested from start to finish and I found I was really able to engage and connect with all the characters. I laughed, I cried and I was surprised. I would definitely recommend this book and I can’t wait for the series to continue

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5/5 stars! WOW! This is a stunning start to the “Heroes of the Empire.” I really appreciated the depth of Velamir and Natassa throughout this story. The pacing of the story was a bit slow in the beginning, but that’s common with the world-building in fantasy series. Once the pace picked up, it didn’t slow down for the rest of the story. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review

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Thanks for the book!

I really enjoyed this book. The story was very engaging and it felt like I was there in the story. It was kind of weird with the spacing in the book, but I think that was because of the online formatting. The only annoying thing about the book was the cliffhanger.
I posted my review on goodreads.

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This was such a good story and I did not want to stop reading. I will anxiously await the next book. This is an interesting tale with elements of adventure, love, slavery, flawed heroes, and a battle for a kingdom. The author had me convinced one side was right and then flipped it around to the point that you are not sure who to trust! And don’t expect your favorite characters to be safe from injury or death. A great story for middle school through adult. I’m so disappointed I’m reviewing this right now as it means that the story has ended for now. Please bring us book 2 soon!

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This book was so good, it reminded of my game of thrones era. It has such good world building and the characters were so well written. It focuses more character development and world building rather than plot, but since it’s a series I feel like that was necessary for the first book for the plot to pick up later on in the rest of the books. That aside, that doesn’t mean this book lacks plot, the plot is just slowly progressing, focusing more on introducing us to the world and that characters. The slow burn in this book was on another level, the characters literally dream of each other but haven’t met (FATED MATES AHH). The ending was A HUGE CLIFFHANGER, I’m dying to get my hand on the second book to know what the frick was happening. This is a heavy fantasy book with little romance so for all the girlies who love a good fantasy world building plot with a slow burn subplot romance, this one is for you.

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Thanks alot to both Azizi & Netgalley for this Arc.

Very good book for Azizi's maiden voyage into writing. I agree with most they Israh writes more like a seasoned author, than a new voice in the genre.

The multiple perspectives are not covulated and confusing, and make for an interesting story to see from the different perspectives.

I enjoyed the magic system of true Manos. I'm a magic guy, so I'm always Intrigued by what unusual system is developed and if it's new or stale in its use and background.

The orphan idea isn't new, but is written refreshingly and works well within the story.

Lots of action from the beginning and definitely a must read if your looking for a new epic series.

I'll be keeping this on my radar for the next book

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Great book, loved the plot and the characters where amazing, this book just sucked me in from the first page

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Great debut novel! Reads like a more seasoned writer. The characters are well developed and likeable, the worldbuilding is well thought out, and the plot moves nicely along so that I never felt like there was a dull moment. Looking forward to more from Israh Azizi!

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This multiple pov book is about coming of age, in a sense, and moreso discovering oneself. Orphaned at a young age and "rescued' by Winston a General for Prolus, Velemir has only known the life of a soldier. He has only been given one point of view - the Empire is bad and Emporer Malus and his empire must be taken down. Velemir has been indoctrinated into the beliefs of Prolus, the Dark Lord, and he knows no other way of life. Lissa, Quintis and Jax (a Shadow Manos) are in the same situation and have grown up training with Velimer. When the four are sent on a mission to infiltrate the Empire their loyalties to the Dark Lord Prolus are tested and they must each decide where they stand. Along with this Velemir has begun to dream of a woman, in his dreams she cries out to him to help her, he is haunted by her face and her voice.

The Daughter of Malus lives in a cruel world. She is not blind to the monster her father is and is often front row as he tortures and destroys people, even his own children. Malus forces a marriage contract with a vicious and arrogant prince and the Princess must decide if she will go through with the marriage or find a way to end it and save her empire. She faces ultimate betrayals, dangers and personal pain in the journey.

The Princess Cora, is also a warrior. She is determined to fight the evil Dark Lord and prevail for the sake of the empire. She has known the goodness of her uncle King Dale and does not see first hand the evil work of Malus.

And thus people from opposing sides of the conflict are thrown together. Their lives more intricately intertwined then they could ever have guessed.

This book is well written. I enjoyed every page. I received a digital review copy and ended up purchasing the paperback to share. I absolutely cannot wait for the continuation of this story!! I only hope I don't have to wait too long, but then again a re-read of the first will be enjoyed!!

“Don’t be afraid of what lies in the darkness, because sometimes, the things hidden in the dark are our greatest allies."

“We all make mistakes. Mistakes are easy. What’s hard is changing the mistakes to something good. Instead of burying yourself in self-pity, help others. Take your mind off it.”

"There is a fire against us. And in the end, the fire could burn us, or ignite us into an unstoppable force. What choice do you make?”

"I am their princess. If they suffer, I should be in anguish. If they are left out in the cold, I should freeze. If they must endure a wound, I should bleed."

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Five-star debut for me. Exciting read with plenty of action/adventure and an appropriate amount of respectable romance. Loved the medieval atmosphere, sword fighting, archery, and jousting. Gripping character driven storyline causing me to really connect with the characters and their deep complex back stories. It was so well written, that I re-read it to enjoy the details and pick up on gems I missed the first time through. A definite must read for boys, girls, teenagers and anyone who likes a fun ride. Looking forward to the second in this series or any future releases by this author. I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.

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Thanks netgalley and the publisher for this copy!
I’m truly amazed that this is the author’s debut book. I loved the intrigue, the world, the characters ( even if some of them were truly naïve) and I liked it that we got a glimpse into their backstories.

I understand why this book is compared to We hunt the Flame and An Ember In the Ashes. It has the same undertone and family dynamics.

The foundation of the story is really well thought and while I anticipated some turns, I was mind blown by the last plot twist!
My only critique is that it was a little too fast paced. The characters got out of most situations really quick and it felt like some deaths are not well handled. But overall I loved this book and I cannot wait for book 2! I need more of Velamir and Natassa’s story

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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this debut. As someone who reads and enjoys series, this is a great beginning. I connected with the characters and found the worldbuilding fascinating. Will purchase this for my teen boys and niece to read. Its something I would have loved when I was growing up. Excited to see where this series goes. Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.

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By simply reading the blurb I grasped a hint of what to expect. The cliche Hero and Damsel in distress princess. A typical theme in fantasy books. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by what I also received. Characters with depth, characters with promise. And what I didn't anticipate was a wonderfully original world. The unique customs mentioned and the different kingdoms and lands. I applaud the thoughtful world building.

Now for the pros and cons. I prefer receiving negative new first so here goes...

The ending frustrated me because of the cliffhanger. I wanted more. There was an epilogue but not enough to sate me.

The villains are a particularly difficult part to judge. I hated some, was irritated by others. The fact that most of them weren't just the classic villain without reason was something I appreciated. Villains with realistic backstories enthrall me.

The setting, while enjoyable was slightly under described. I need full vivid color to picture. The author clearly has a lot of potential, so I have high hopes for future books being more descriptive.


Pacing. It wasn't too rapid or slow. The book drew me in until I didn't do what I normally do as I read and repeatedly check my progress.

Characters weren't cardboard cutouts that I couldn't tell apart. They varied from each other and all had motivations.

Romance. While there was the occasional spark, it was a clean read. I would have no problem recommending to young family members.

A pleasant read overall and a nod to NetGalley for the ARC copy in return for genuine feedback.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The worldbuilding in this book was very interesting. I loved how different places were mentioned in small details instead of long info dumps. I would have appreciated a more thorough description of the setting but seeing as this is the first book, we will probably get more info in the future.


I absolutely loved the characters. They were full of life, and I could relate a lot with the MC. Their struggles and pain could be felt, and I was completely immersed in their journeys. I'm a fan of multiple POV's so that was a treat!


The book started a little slow for me, but I continued reading it improved greatly until I couldn't set it down. The chapters began to shorten towards the end adding to the desperation in the events taking place.

Magic System

A very unique Magic System. I enjoyed learning about the Shadow Manos and their abilities.

Overall, I found this to be a delightful story! Iwas especially impressed with it seeing that it is a debut novel. I will be looking forward to reading more in this series.

My rating: 5 stars

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