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The Empress by S. J. Kincaid

BOTTOM LINE: The wait for the final book is going to be interminable!!!

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction
Publication Date: 31 October 2017
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?”

My Thoughts: While The Diabolic started out slowly and built towards an amazing finish, The Empress starts out strong and only gets stronger as the story progresses. This is in part because it assumes that you read the first book and remember enough to keep going. Because it is a sequel, gone is the need to spend much of the exposition world-building, which means that the action immediately starts. The strong start is also in part because Nemesis has entered a whole new level of political machinations. Things are ugly, and they get a whole lot uglier before the novel ends.

Ms. Kincaid does a fantastic job one-upping each crisis she has Nemesis face. She proves her humanity ten times over and still has no happy ending. Whereas I critiqued the first book as a bit too predictable, the sequel is none of that. Some of the twists took my breath away in shock because they were so unexpected. Yet others may have been predictable, but I was so caught up in the story itself that giving any extra thought to figuring out the arc of the story was not something with which I bothered. I was but a passenger on the crazy ride of Nemesis’ life, and it was so engaging that my own thoughts fell to the wayside. To me, this is the sign of an excellent novel.

It has been a long time since a book played with my emotions so dramatically and so often. Not only that but reading elevated my heart rate for the last half of the novel. Nemesis’ fight to prove her humanity and save Tyrus kept me reading the book in one sitting, another rare occurrence these days. The Empress is a book I literally did not want to stop reading. By the time I reached the end, I was excited, over stimulated, and in tears because I did not want the story to end. The worst part about this is I now have to wait another year to find out how her story ends. Someone please hold me.

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