Friday, February 24, 2017

Guest Review! Violet from Reading Violet Brings Impyrium by Henry H. Neff

So we have a different sort of post here. Recently, I have collaborated with Violet from Reading Violet, a blog which has some sweet book stuff like the one right here, and we are guest posting. Today is her opinion on Impyrium, and on Sunday, check out her blog for my review on Spy School. Enjoy!

Hello, everybody!  Today I’m so excited to be reviewing Impyrium by Henry H. Neff on JustinTalksBooks. 

Title: Impyrium
Series: No clue, but the second book comes out soon!
Author: Henry H. Neff
Age group: 8 - 12
Page count: 592 pages

Summary from Amazon:
    In the first book of Henry H. Neff’s new high-stakes middle grade fantasy series, two unlikely allies confront a conspiracy that will shake the world of Impyrium to its core.
    For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall.
Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them.
One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.
    First, I’d like us to look at the cover.  The cover amazingly captured the intrigue, suspense and mystery of the book.  The creepy jester-looking shadow gave me an ominous feeling, and the vault door opening made me wonder what could be inside.  It also blatantly shows things connected to the book, similar to how clues are hidden in plain sight.  It reflects the mood of Impyrium very nicely!
    This book pulled me out of reality and dropped me in Impyrium.  The world is so well-developed and thought out.  Everything is well-described.  Little things are there that most authors wouldn’t think of.  The maps helped clarify where places in the story were, which proved useful as I received lots of information about locations.  The world is just so deep.

    The prologue pulled me right in.  It had great action and mystery.  Initially, I was worried I wouldn’t like it.  It was one of the best introductions to a story I’ve ever had.

    The action in Impyrium is so strong.  There is something going on in every chapter that is key to the story.  Everything little detail is relevant to the plot.  I thought the story was over after something big happened, but no!  There was still 100 pages left, and more big things happened.  It was amazing.
    I thought the portrayal of both sides was great.  The author leaves us in suspense, wondering which side is good and which is evil.  Both sides have flaws, but we root for aspects of both of them.

    The characters were fantastic.  Hazel has great powers, but she's flawed and relatable.  She’s not self-absorbent or haughty about her powers.  She sees them as a gift and a burden, and I was able to recognize that through the writing.

Hob was a character who wanted to make a name for himself, but cares for others more than he does himself.  He was smart, but did not gloat about his accomplishments.  Both characters were very down-to-earth and this made them very relatable in all their conflicts.

    Their friendship began sketchy.  However, both Hazel and Hob provided support and comfort for each other in times of need.  They understand how the other feels like.  Their attitudes were collected and happy to learn (most of the time).  Their motivational words to each other gave me inspiration.

    As Hazel grows up, she starts to realize things aren’t as perfect as she liked to imagine.  Her friend helps her guide through tricky parts of life.

    I grew to care very deeply about these characters.  When Hazel is connected as similar to someone wicked, I was very concerned!

    Since Impyrium is very thick, it might deter readers.  However, I would encourage them to push through because it is a great book.

    Occasionally, the author tries to teach us about the world of Impyrium.  This is done in classrooms where students/teachers answer questions.  I didn’t like this way of gaining information about the book very much.  I wish I could’ve been done a little more subtly.

    Overall, I give Impyrium a nine out of ten!  No book is perfect (ten out of ten), but Impyrium came very close!  It has captivating conflict, a strong friendship and a deep world.  It definitely deserves its stars!
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Author bio: 
Henry H. Neff grew up outside Chicago before going off to Cornell University where he majored in history. He began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company before leaving the corporate life to teach at a San Francisco high school and write fantasy novels.
His first series, “The Tapestry”, is a five-volume epic that follows the life and adventures of Max McDaniels. Its books have been translated into nineteen languages and were finalists for the Texas Bluebonnet, Missouri Truman Award, and Northern California Book of the Year.
Impyrium is Henry’s second series. You’ll find him working away in Montclair, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Taken from Amazon.  Click the link below to go to his website.
Thank you for joining me this week for my review!  Next week, on my blog Reading Violet, I will be reviewing Day of Ice by Andrew Lane.  Also, on Wednesday, March 1st, I will post an interview with Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Have a wonderful week!


  1. I enjoyed Impyrium immensely. Too bad it's so long as you noted since many young readers will avoid anything of this size. I'm still anxious for a sequel though.

  2. There is a chance you're qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.