Published by Razorbill on February 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, War, Young Adult
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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.
Empress of A Thousand Skies was written by Rhoda Belleza and was included in the February FairyLoot box. I really enjoyed this book. I was apprehensive going into it as I have seen several people say they DNF’d it after a hundred or so pages, but I really loved it. There were a few things I did have problems with, but overall it was a pleasurable reading experience.
So the story revolves primarily around Rhiannon Ta’an, the soon to be crowned Princess of Kalu. Unfortunately, she is next in line for the crown because her entire family was murdered and only she escaped. As she is saying goodbye to the life she has known for the past few years while she was prepared to take over, a chain of events changes everything. She is targeted and an attempted assassination is thwarted… barely. She is forced to join forces with someone she doesn’t believe she can trust to escape, and to seek revenge. Meanwhile news is spreading that the Rose of The Galaxy is dead.
On the other side of things, Alyosha (Aly), reality star and soldier is blamed for her death. This is completely surprising as he was nowhere near the ship she was on when her supposed death took place. But, he is Wraetan, and basically hated by the world. He easily becomes the scape goat due to the color of his skin. Racism is alive and well in this alternate reality as well. So he goes on the run to avoid being arrested and teams up with a surprising ally.
I think this made for a great debut into this world and I will be excited to read the next installment. BUT.. there were some drawbacks. Number one, the names of the characters. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand more times… NORMAL NAMES ARE OKAY! I hate when I can’t easily pronounce a character’s name. Authors: If you want to go out there with your names, at the very least, you could pull a JK Rowling and have said character sound it out for us. (Her-my-oh-nee. We are all Viktor Krum. I, for one, called her Her-me-own for the first few books.) Secondly, the made up curse words. They aren’t terrible when they are pronounceable and used sparingly, but if I had to read choirtoi or taejis one more time I would have lost my mind. And finally, the whole race thing. It is clear that Aly is dark-skinned, and his skin is made reference to many times. He is called a savage and a “dusty”. He is stereotyped as being an angry and violent guy and struggles to keep his emotions in check and use the popular dialect. Now, I know that this is used to show a parallel between this world and ours, but I just hate it. I read fantasy to avoid the depressing nature of our society. And here it is again. I don’t know. I hate that racism was included, but I understand why it was.
All in all, 4.5 stars. I really did enjoy it and I am glad it is going to be a duology. I would like to see this story wrapped up and discover what happens to our heroine and the soldier. Plus, there’s a sweet android called Pavel that I can’t wait to get more of!