Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review: The Empress

Title: The Empress (The Diabolic #2)
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Source: Author
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads)

The Empress ended in a shocking twist, but I still think The Diabolic would have been better off as a standalone. 
Plot: After reading The Diabolic, I was satisfied by the unexpected events of the novel. When the sequel was announced, I was surprised but intrigued - there were so many possibilities to explore given the abrupt ending of The Diabolic. Unfortunately, the recurring thought I had while reading The Empress was that The Diabolic should have stayed a standalone novel. The beginning of The Empress was bizarre because Nemesis and Tyrus forgave each other far too easily given the betrayals and questions from The Diabolic. The pacing for the first two-thirds of this book was jarring; Nemesis and Tyrus hopped from location to location and spent a considerable amount of time away from a crumbling empire. I didn't have high expectations but I was still disappointed in the direction The Empress was going, this all changed with the last third of the book. Those final few chapters below me away and kept me up reading, and it's only because of that stellar ending that I'll pick up the third book. 

Characters: In The Diabolic, Nemesis fought with accepting that she was inhuman and her budding human emotions. I felt that Nemesis took two steps back in The Empress, she didn't seem to experience any emotions and lived to protect Tyrus, so she was still fulfilling her Diabolic purpose by protecting one person. I was very confused by her relationship with Tyrus because they both were extremely stubborn and focused on what they each believed was right. The other characters were mildly interesting, but I missed the court intrigue and constant betrayal from The Diabolic. 

Worldbuilding: The Diabolic mostly took place on a few select ships and on a planet, The Empress explored more of the galaxy and took a deeper look at the religious system which was intriguing. While I loved that Kincaid allowed us to explore more of the empire and its history, I thought there was too much hopping around in the sequel. 

Short N Sweet: This wasn't the sequel I expected, but that ending made The Empress worth it! I can't wait to see how this ends for Nemesis. 


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