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Empress of a Thousand Skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza is a YA space odyssey with court intrigue, assassination attempts and highspeed space chases. The only surviving heir to the to the Kalusian dynasty, Rhee, has been training her whole life to rule… and to take down the man who murdered her family. On the eve of her coronation, Rhee will finally take her revenge–that is, if she isn’t killed first.

After escaping an assassination attempt, Rhee must go into hiding where she finds a group of rebels who reveal information about her past and her country that could change everything.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who, despite prejudices about his heritage, has become the star of a DroneVision reality show. But all the fame in the world won’t save Aly when he is blamed for Princess Rhee’s presumed murder. Now Aly too is on the run, attempting to prove his innocence and stay alive.

Aly and Rhee’s paths cross amidst a brewing inter-planetary war. Can Aly and Rhee uncover the truth and reveal a plot ten years in the making?

Space odyssey’s or even hardcore scifi isn’t normally my go to genre. I tend to stick with fantasy or magical realism. But Empress of a Thousand Skies wasn’t a bad read. First off, that cover. This was such a pretty book, I would have picked it up just for that. I loved the eclipse and how it ties into the woman’s hair superimposed on the moon.

I really liked Aly’s storyline. He has that wrong time, wrong place kind of guy and he was genuinely a likable character. Aly is also a dynamic character; he has to deal with prejudices and fame, but he also has a tortured past and relateable hobbies and reactions to the world around him. Where as Rhee, is somewhat one-dimensional at the moment. I didn’t find her very interesting and almost a little wishy-washy.

The story as a whole though, did some very interesting things. This book can definitely speak to privacy and the lack of it in a modern age. People have cubes inserted into their heads and they are always “online.” Their memories are recorded, they have access to tons of information and supposedly no one can access these cubes… or can they? Aly and Rhee must go offline to escape notice and in doing so they both lose and gain so much. Makes you think about today’s world of technology and where we are heading.

We also see a volatile political climate that could very well mirror our own. Likable leaders with personal agenda’s, media campaigns with ulterior motives, protests and more. It is interesting to see what parallels could be traced back to today and it would be neat to see if Belleza intended these parallels.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book. At first I didn’t have feelings about the book one way or the other but as I sat down to review it, I found I had more to say then I thought. This is one where you will want to read vs. listen but as an audiobook it wasn’t bad. 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!


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