The book has a reasonably interesting plot: a military coup knocks out most of a ruling dynasty, the youngest members of the dynasty escape, and the dynasty’s allies lay a foundation for its return to power. I was on board with that, but I lost interest due to the writing style. I don’t have quotes, because I listened to an audiobook while driving, but I’ll give you my impersonation of the author’s writing:
Imagine you’re reading a sci-fi/thriller book by another author: ‘She took out the security camera with an EMP blast.’ A description of the same event in Heirs of Empire would look like: ‘She fired her EMP blaster at the camera. This destroyed the camera, and prevented it from transmitting a signal. If the guards had been able to view the camera’s feed, they would have seen her. If the guards had seen her, they would have come out of the guardhouse to arrest her, and she would have had to fight them.’ This problem even extended down to the sentence level, where instead of ‘She knocked him to the ground’, I’d hear “She hit him so hard that he fell onto the ground.”
I kept yelling at my audio system, “Get on with it!” (If any of you have planted a hidden camera in my vehicle, you should post a clip on youtube.) Eventually annoyance gave way to boredom, and I started thinking about work-related things instead of the book.
The story also couldn’t seem to decide what technology paradigm to use. It’s sci-fi with blaster rifles and such, but the most powerful people have special items that act like bows and arrows and angels’ wings. The ships they fly around in sometimes act like fighter jets, sometimes like sailing vessels, and sometimes like trains following tracks in the sky (I really hope I misunderstood that last one due to inattention).
Let me know in the comments section if you’ve read any books where an interesting story was ruined by writing style, or where the author used twenty words in place of two.