Title: Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publication Date: February 7t , 2017
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“If all we are is what people think we are, then we’re all screwed.”
CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE. The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge. ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye. Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder. The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy. In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy. – Excerpt from Goodreads
Ok, so I think I might be a big fan of science-fiction. Who knew? I’ve been turning my nose up at it for years. Thank you Illuminae for showing me the way and leading me to awesome books like this one!
Empress of a Thousand Skies was a really fun ride. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on this novel, people seem to love it or hate it. I’m in the love camp on this one. The idea of a princess getting revenge for her dead families death is about as cliche as it gets, nothing new is being brought to the table in that sense. However, I felt like it was done in such a way that I was still very pulled into the story and forgot that it was a major trope at all. I think that speaks volumes for the author. Some people weren’t a fan of Rhee but I thought she was great. Rhee was very flawed, somewhat selfish, immature at times and impulsive. That’s what I loved though. She was only 16 years old with the weight of the world on her shoulders, of course she is going to be all of those things. Most of us are without that kind of massive pressure. I felt like her character developed slowly over the course the book as she had to face the reality of her situation and the true peril she was in. I’m really excited to see where her characters goes in the next book.
Alyosha was a fantastic character, his story was more interesting to me in this particular novel. His character had more-depth and had been through more. The character is black and deals with issues of racism, it was painful to watch him be treated as a second class citizen or worse in many of the situations. Aly was fairly guarded but his relationship with his best friend Vin is what made him really shine. Their friendship was humorous and very touching. I won’t give too much away about this one because there are some reveals that are really well-executed and might have brought a little tear or two to my eyes.
The world building is ok, I wouldn’t say it’s fantastic. I wish a map would’ve been included, it would’ve been much easier to grasp all the places they were talking about. It wasn’t that hard for me to get the jist of it though. The political intrigue is great in this one, sometimes I get bored when the politics goes too in-depth but this one was a great balance I though. As for romance, there was some but it was far from the focus of the book and it wasn’t distracting at all. The book ended on a cliff hanger that I did predict, and I think most will, but it was still one that makes me wanting the next book like yesterday.
Overall, I would say check this one out. It’s fast, it’s accessible – even if you aren’t a science fiction fan and the cover is beautiful (yes, totally a reason!).