Title: Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Empress Duology (Book #2)
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Format: Hardcover, 344 Pages
ISBN-10: 1101999101 (Razorbill/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-1101999103 (Razorbill/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kristie
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.
A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.
Quick & Dirty: Cliffhangers, twists abound in this incredible science fiction space drama.
Opening Sentence: Rhee tore a path through the marketplace, kicking up dust that fell slowly in Nau Fruma’s low gravity.
Empress of a Thousand Skies is a sci-fi space drama that surprised me at every turn. At first, I did think the story was a little slow because I didn’t think it was going to ever get to a part that is described in the synopsis but when it did the story really picked up the pace. I think going into this novel knowing as little as possible will benefit the experience of reading this novel. I will say go into this knowing that this is the first part in a duology, I didn’t so I was confused a bit about how events played out but knowing that there will be another book actually stepped up my review for this novel.
Crown Princess Rhiannon “Rhee” Ta’an is the only living member of her ruling family but since they were killed when she was only six years old she was sent away to grow up while a Crown Regent ruled in her place. Rhee has grown up knowing that her family was killed and that she was supposed to die with them so her years have been spent in training for revenge. Rhee sixteenth birthday is just days away and she will be coronation on her birthday. Unfortunately, someone else still wants to make sure she is dead. Another attempt on her life, Rhee goes into hiding while the entire planetary system believes that she is dead. With the help of an unlikely ally, Rhee fights to get her revenge and her crown.
Alyosha Myraz is a solider in the UniForce, a military group that protects the planet Kalu and the Ta’an ruling family. Aly and his fellow soldier Vin, are a bit of rejects within the UniForce forced to patrol the outer planets but they have their own TV show called, Revolutionary Boys. It is one of the most popular shows in the universe. After a crazy chase following an unidentified ship, Aly and Vin allow themselves some much needed downtime. During his time away Aly finds a Royal Escape Pod that does not contain the body of “supposedly” dead Princess. Not too long after this event, Aly finds himself the most wanted man in the universe for killing someone he didn’t even kill. Aly is now on the run hoping to find a way to prove his innocence.
Throughout the bulk of the novel, Rhee is focused mainly on her revenge. The crown is only secondary to her. She does do some terrible things in her quest for revenge but she does eventually realize how destructive she has been. I did worry about her selfishness of the quest she was undertaking but in reality everything she did was to keep herself alive. She needs to be alive in order to stop a war that will potentially destroy more planets. On the other hand, Aly spent the novel either being clueless or defensive. Aly is the character that I really felt for. He is already a refugee from a terrible war. He is discriminated because of his roots. And he sees firsthand how terrible this new war will be if it isn’t stopped in time.
The world created in Empress of a Thousand Skies is colorful, inventive and yet terrifying. There are many planets, moons, asteroids that all carry some kind of life. There are many colorful and creative space creatures. Honestly, this novel felt like Star Wars just without the Jedi. The star of this novel is Pavel, a sarcastic learning robot that totally sounded like Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO from Rogue One, except for about one third the size.
The chapters alternate between Rhee and Aly and always end with a cliffhanger. I really like that because it keeps me from wanting to put the book down. I also couldn’t wait for Rhee and Aly to cross paths which also kept me hooked. There is a major twist within and that is all I will say. It is awesome. My only complaint was that I didn’t know there was a second book on the way so I felt like it wasn’t playing out fast enough. Now that I know there is a second book, I really enjoyed how this one sets up the sequel, otherwise it would have been a terrible ending. Overall, if you like twists, turns and cliffhangers I highly recommend checking this one out.
“Yeah, all of that.” Vin looked at him. “You were convenient. You were the perfect spur-of-the-moment scapegoat to stoke the flames of war. But you were a diversion. The question is: What were they trying to hide?” The fire had seemed to drain out of him. He gripped his way to the dash and looked out into the darkness. “They needed to distract the public from rumors that the Princess is still alive.”
“You knew?” Aly asked. He hadn’t told him about the braid he found in the escape pod.
“We suspected as much.” He leaned back like he was trying to get a better look at Aly, trying to take him all in. “How long have you known?”
“When I found the dead Nau Fruman in the royal escape pod . . . “
“Wait.” Vin stared at him. “What escape pod?”
FTC Advisory: Razorbill/Penguin provided me with a copy of Empress of a Thousand Skies. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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