Impyrium

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Impyrium Book Poster Image
Epic, magical fantasy like a "Game of Thrones" for tweens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Uses the trappings of epic fantasy to tell story of magic and politics. Does an exemplary job of describing the economics of its imagined world.

Positive Messages

Discipline and perseverance lead to success and mastery of one's craft. It's important to stand up for one's friends in times of trouble.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hazel begins the book as a dreamy, somewhat lazy girl, who wants nothing to do with family politics. She matures into a committed protector of her family, thanks in part to her tutoring by Hob.

Violence

Contains scenes of violence -- a shooting, a duel, a climactic fight against necromancers, the drowning of innocents -- but they are seldom overly graphic.

Sex

Hazel and Hob seem romantically attracted to each other, but they're only at the start of a platonic relationship.

Language

Hob is called a "bastard," in the literal sense, by his enemies.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Impyrium is the first volume of a new epic fantasy series by Henry H. Neff, author of The Hound of Rowan. It includes some scenes of violence -- notably a sword fight and a magical duel -- but the descriptions are not particularly graphic. The only strong language is "bastard" in the literal sense. There's a vague romantic attraction between the two main characters, Hazel, granddaughter of the Empress, and her tutor, Hob, a commoner.

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What's the story?

At the start of IMPYRIUM, the Faeregine dynasty rules over the empire, but their magic power seems to be waning and the possibility of war is greater than ever. Hazel, the youngest member of the family, wants nothing to do with politics, but the formidable Empress has great plans for her granddaughter. Hob, a young commoner working as a page, proves to be a skilled tutor, helping Hazel with her lessons -- even as he reports on activities at the castle to his spymasters. Both young people are on a collision course with powerful, magical entities who wish to destroy the dynasty and remake Impyrium.

Is it any good?

In the first volume of his new fantasy saga, Author Henry H. Neff hits all the right notes without being too derivative. In the wake of Game of Thrones, many fantasy writers aspire to write mammoth, epic sagas, but few have the depth of talent and breadth of imagination to pull it off. Neff does. Hazel and Hob are compelling main characters, and their interplay is what makes Impyrium special.

Whether Neff will be able to maintain the complex story's intensity across at least two more 600-page volumes remains to be seen, but he's certainly off to a promising start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Impyrium uses the trappings of epic fantasy to tell its story. Why are multipart fantasy sagas so popular now?

  • How is violence used in Impyrium? Should violence be used as the first course of action?

  • Hob teaches Hazel about the rules of supply and demand. How important is it for kids to learn how to manage their money?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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