I'm officially giving up on this book. When I've been two days without reading a book and haven't felt the desire to pick it up again, it's probably not worth it. I made it through about six chapters, and it seemed to be a whole lot of intrigue without much substance. Generally, authors keep readers reading by giving them questions they want to know the answers to in the story. The only question I had was, "Why should I care?" The world situation sucked under the old Emperor, and it still sucks under the new Empress. Even without being under her thumb, it doesn't seem like the situation would be much improved. None of the characters seemed all that interesting, possibly because they were all just shades of gray. Even The Song of Ice and Fire gives you someone to root for, even if that ends up being "wrong" later. I may try to pick up Book 2 someday, as I've heard it's best not to start with Book 1. But for now, on to other things!