Author: S.J. Kincaid
Series? Yes, a trilogy (originally was going to be a standalone)
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Source: I received a copy of The Empress via Netgalley. Thank you to Simon & Schuster! All thoughts and opinions are my own. :)
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?
The Empress is the sequel to The Diabolic, which released last year on November 1. The book was marketed as a standalone, and had one of those ending that left room for a sequel if the publishing house and author decided to. And well, they did, and I couldn't be more pleased! I really enjoyed The Diabolic (review here!), and I was a bit nervous to read this one. I couldn't resist requesting it from Netgalley though, and I am so glad I did. S.J. Kincaid upped the stakes with The Empress, and delivered a nail-biting sequel that I enjoyed even more than it's predecessor.
First let's talk about the characters. Nemesis is the main character, and I absolutely loved her. I enjoyed her character in the first book, but The Empress dug a lot deeper. I love this overarching question of what it means to be human, and I definitely think Nemesis is! Tyrus, who is the male protagonist and Nemsis' love interest was so complex this go around. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel so bad for him. At the same time I hate him. He faces a lot of horrible circumstances (as done Nemesis) and he changed a lot because of them. Neveni also comes back this book. At first, I liked her, but then she does something that is super messed up. I'm interested to see how Nemesis and Neveni interact in the next book, because I don't know if I would be able to forgive Neveni if I were Nemsis. Gladdic was also in this book! To be honest, I forgot who he was at first, but he plays a much more important role. I wish I saw more of him in these two books! Anguish, another Diabolic, comes to be of importance in the last third of the novel. We don't get too much of him, but I liked what I read! And lastly, General Pasus! Whew...this guy really knows how to mess things up, and I loved what happened. Now granted, I'm all for a happy ending but he really brought the drama and conflict in!
Now, the plot! A lot of reviews are saying that the book had a slow start, and I would have to agree with them. It took me two days to get to the 25% mark, and then I read the last 75% in one sitting. So while the beginning is a bit slower, Kincaid makes up for it with a dazzling second and third act. The ending was absolutely extraordinary, and has cemented this series as one of my favorite YA science fiction series. I have extremely high expectations for the next book, and I don't think I'll be let down.
Kincaid has a wonderful mix of action and characters. I was able to empathize with everyone, (except Pasus!) even when people were making mistakes and ruining plans. Kincaid makes all her characters so complex and her plots so intricate, that I had no idea what was going to happen next. I was left reeling in the aftermath of this book, and it's only two weeks after finishing this book that I was able to coherently write this review!
Like I said, the ending is downright amazing. Nemesis teams up with someone unexpected, and the interactions should be interested! It will be an interesting dynamic in the third book, but I have no idea how Kincaid is going to pull together the HEA that us readers expect from YA. And if there isn't a HEA, I'm okay with that. I think it will be very refreshing!
In comparison to The Diabolic, there is a huge tonal shift. The Empress is a dire book, where nothing right seems to happen. While reading this, I thought "How worse could it possibly get?" and then it would get worse and worse. If you are a reader who doesn't like hopelessness, then this is definitely not the book for you. I, however, really liked this. Whenever I was reading The Diabolic, I always had the feeling that everything would turn out okay. I don't have that feeling anymore, and it's just as exhilarating as it is frightening.
I have some theories about what will happen next, and I'm really hoping my huge theory will happen, because it would be amazing to read. And to be honest, I think (and hope!) it's going to happen. (If you have read the book and am wondering about what I'm talking about, go to minute 17:44 of this video!) Yes, I'm the Gennifer who asked. :D
With that, I give this book
4.5 out of 5 Stars!
P.S. Right now is final week for me at university, so I won't be posting often! My exams started last Thursday and will end next Thursday. Until then, you probably won't be seeing too much of me! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!