Beyond The Empire Read Along: Weeks 3 & 4

Sooo it’s been a busy time since I last did one of these, which means it’s time to play catch-up and cover the final two weeks at once! Deep breaths. I have Opinions. Major spoilers will follow!

Let’s discuss Beyond The Empire.



I will be mixing up the final two rounds of questions to keep everything cohesive and flowing (sort of) smoothly, but here’s a reminder of the schedule and who’s been hosting!

And with that, let’s dive in…

Okay, let’s get the big thing out of the way first: we know who Wilson is! Thoughts? Reactions? Any further predictions?

HAHAHAHA okay so. I know that there was throwing of books over this in our Discord discussion, and I fully understand why. Wilson’s reason for doing all of this, that he did it because he was passed over for the role of Consort to the late Empress, is so incredibly petty and egotistical and amazingly self-centred that of course we’re going to hate it. But. BUT. The thing is … I believe it.

I know that it may seem wildly illogical coming from someone raised in a matriarchal society, and it absolutely is, but then my question is this: nothing Wilson has done throughout this trilogy has been reasonable or logical, so why would his reason for doing it be different? ALSO. There are always men like that. Always. It’s a sad, scary, infuriating fact. I don’t much care for the notion that there will always be men like that, but I’ve got to admit it’s not so much of a stretch – at least not for me. You may feel differently, and that’s valid! But. I am cynical on this point.

What did you think about Wilson’s little treasure hunt?

Basically, good on Hail for coming to the conclusion that playing his game is pointless and is only going to lead to more deaths. She’s right, and also damn good on her for then deciding to change the game on him. I cannot stress this enough: fuck this guy.

Pour one out for Cas. How are you feeling about Hail and crew’s reactions to the baby-faced BodyGuard’s death?

Oh, Cas.

Their reactions made a lot of sense, and I felt deeply for Hail when she put two and two together, and realised what had really happened. I also don’t blame her for being so angry with Fasé, though I’m glad she at least let her live. Given her track record of dealing with betrayals … I got nervous for a little bit, there. Which I think may have been the point! Heavy-handed though some of those previous scenes and encounters were, I think they were intended to lead to this? Hail hasn’t hesitated to pull the trigger before, but at the end of the day she pulled it on people who didn’t really matter to her. There’s a big difference between that and killing someone you care about. So I’m glad the Farian lived.

“I find myself caring less about right these days and more about just ending things.” Hail has been taking a more aggressive tack with her prisoners: first her brother-in-law Albin, then the captured assassin, and the execution of Admiral Shul… do you think the gunrunner empress will ever be able to fully reconcile the two roles?

Speaking of Hail’s tactics, heh. Yes. This is certainly a thing, isn’t it? Given that her decision to eventually step down as Empress by the end of the book, it seems clear that even Hail doesn’t see herself reconciling those two polar opposite sides of her identity, regardless of how devoted to her her BodyGuards are. I don’t know if I see her returning to her old gunrunner ways entirely, and I’m curious about where she’ll end up if that’s the case, but I’m at peace with the idea that she doesn’t want to be Empress forever. She didn’t want to be Empress in the first place, after all.

Closing out with a marriage. Are you happy with the ending? Is there anything missing that you were hoping for?

I’m happy with the ending in general, though I still wish there had been more time available to spend with some of these characters. I’ve said before that I feel like a lot more depth and a slower pace might have benefited this story as a whole, and I still think that. We’re being asked to care about an awful lot of people who didn’t get a great deal of page time, all things considered. I can sort of forgive it because the main story kept me hooked, but in the aftermath when I have time to think on it all? Yes, it’s an issue, and it’s one I hope the follow-up trilogy can address … but I’ll be taking a break and coming to that later, for sure. It’s time for something else now.




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