Empress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1)
CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA'AN WANTS VENGEANCE.The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne - and her revenge.ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding - even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee's name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Empress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1) Details

TitleEmpress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 7th, 2017
PublisherRazorbill
ISBN1101999101
ISBN-139781101999103
Number of pages314 pages
Rating
GenreDystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Space, Space Opera, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Science Fiction

Empress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1) Review

  • Simona Bartolotta
    March 5, 2017
    A month late, but finally I'm reading it.
  • Sara Saif
    February 21, 2017
    4.5/5 “Ma’tan sarili,” she told him solemnly. It was an everyday Kalusian greeting, but it meant more than hello or goodbye. It translated to “highest self,” and to say it was a pledge to be the best person you could be. And for Rhee, that meant to be honorable, brave and loyal.”Empress of a Thousand Skies was a pleasant surprise. It was an excellent book that kept reminding me of Star Wars and Doctor Who, the “countless species amalgamated and living in a highly advanced and futuristic galaxy 4.5/5 “Ma’tan sarili,” she told him solemnly. It was an everyday Kalusian greeting, but it meant more than hello or goodbye. It translated to “highest self,” and to say it was a pledge to be the best person you could be. And for Rhee, that meant to be honorable, brave and loyal.”Empress of a Thousand Skies was a pleasant surprise. It was an excellent book that kept reminding me of Star Wars and Doctor Who, the “countless species amalgamated and living in a highly advanced and futuristic galaxy” aspect more than anything else. The world is seamless and incredibly well-constructed. It felt natural, like one of those times you read something and it is so well-presented you’re just like, Duh, of course, it is the way it is.There’s a ton of planet hopping in the book. You’re barely in one place before being flung to another and while I sometimes marveled at how easy and unchallenging inter-planetary travel was, I was able to be okay with it because if you think about it, no matter how leading-edge the technology becomes, we’re resourceful little creatures who can find loopholes in everything. A clever advantage of this travel was that we got to know a little bit of each planet and subsequently the gears that drive this world. Going back to what I said earlier, what I loved most about this is that wherever we went there was this fascinating combination of species, a mixture of humans, gilled, spit-throwing humanoids, human-fox hybrids, furred beings and whatnot. But, perhaps the most innovative concept in it is the idea of living with “cubes”, a scientific wonder, common to almost everyone in the galaxy apart from a few who don’t have the privilege to use the technology because of their beliefs, economic status or the region to which they belong. “Most people went their whole lives without going offline, but there were entire communities-hundreds of thousands of people in the Outer Belt-that hadn’t had native cubes installed.” It’s a tiny piece of equipment akin to a computer that is basically as essential to a person of that world as a limb. The whole organic memory versus recorded memory dilemma it entailed was one of the best things about the book. “Rhee wondered what it was like to live a whole life without a cube, or simply to turn off hers like Dahlen. She’d been without hers for just a few days and felt as if she were walking through a murk of uncertainty, with impressions that struck and then disappeared, a past unraveling behind her like a string. It was terrifying-but electrifying, too, as if she hardly existed at all.” Rhiannon “Rhee” Ta’an is the last surviving member of her family. We meet her on the day she’s supposed to take the throne and become empress. She’s barely sixteen and thus ruled by her emotions; her need for revenge for her family’s murder above all. “The Ta’an was an old bloodline. The throne had been in her family for twelve generations, and you could trace the Ta’an back nearly three centuries. They were among the first settlers in the east. The dark soil of Kalu was part of Rhee’s skin, the ocean in her veins, the roots of the trees her own.” The best that can be said about our protagonist is that she’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. She’s ignorant and acts without thinking things through. Despite it all, she’s likeable because you understand where she comes from. A loveable fool is what she essentially is. Her claims of revenge and especially of her super awesome “training” for that prompted some serious eye rolls from me. “I have trained my whole life for this”, she repeatedly said. “Well, why don’t you show me some?” I said. She didn’t. Meh. A point in her favor, though is her consistency regarding her romantic feelings. She likes this one guy and it stays that way even when she’s away from him throughout the book. The second main character is Alyosha Myraz, a Wraetan refugee working as a soldier in the UniForce. He’s what you would call a cinnamon roll. He’s dark-skinned, hilarious, adorable and a walking talking piece of WIN.His friendship with Vin and Jeth was done to perfection, with conversations like these: “Where’d you learn to fly?”“Your mom’s bedroom-she taught me this move.” The Revolutionary barrel-rolled, and Aly scrambled for a handhold while the world somersaulted around him. What a showboat.“If I throw up in the reactor, it’ll be your fault.”“But we’ll all be dead, so who’ll blame me?”A freaking philosopher, this one.I loved those scenes where he interacted with them. The cussing in those parts legit made me double over. Unlike Rhee, Aly’s track had romance in it, subtle and it progressed slowly and believably. Aly’s droid buddy Pavel was so freaking cute. Much like Iko in the Lunar Chronicles or Princess Snow’s seven droids from Stitching Snow or even BB8 or R2D2. Bottom line is: side-kick droids are endearing.The side characters Vincent, the Fisherman, Tai Reyanna, Andres Seotra and especially Dahlen and Kara are all interesting enough. None of them felt like fillers. I’m eager to learn more about Dahlen and Fontis, though. He was a Fontisian and his physical features plus the things he could do lead me to believe that Fontis is the home planet of (view spoiler)[futuristic elves (hide spoiler)] Now who wouldn’t want to know more about that?Rhee’s misjudgment of character was evident the second we were told what motivated her and what she wanted to do. But the bad guy took me by surprise. He makes an intriguing villain. The worst opponent is a smart one and he’s definitely established as one. His nefarious intentions of gaining absolute control hint at a tragic past which will hopefully be explored in the second book.The plot of the book is spur-of-the-moment-ish and it totally works at this initial stage in the story. The apparent lack of plot doesn’t hinder its pace which is fast, dude. SO much happens. (view spoiler)[The war begins during the course of the book! (hide spoiler)] From world building to character introductions to laying out the pieces of the story, it’s all beautifully and intricately written. “Everyone loses something or someone when planets go to war. To think your loss sets you apart is childish.”
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  • Solomon Sanders
    February 20, 2017
    "If all we are is what people think we are, then we're all screwed."THIS QUOTE IS GENIUS! You have to have made it to the end of the book in order to figure out why this was genius. Now on to the actual rating: 3.5 to 4 stars. It was good but I didn't love it. And to be honest, the last page of the book pretty much made this whole book. I really did not want to finish this because it just wasn't good UP UNTIL THAT END. I'm still screaming over it. The storyline to me was very bland and just wasn "If all we are is what people think we are, then we're all screwed."THIS QUOTE IS GENIUS! You have to have made it to the end of the book in order to figure out why this was genius. Now on to the actual rating: 3.5 to 4 stars. It was good but I didn't love it. And to be honest, the last page of the book pretty much made this whole book. I really did not want to finish this because it just wasn't good UP UNTIL THAT END. I'm still screaming over it. The storyline to me was very bland and just wasnt that interesting. It kind of reminded me of Three Dark Crowns. Which I also despised until the ending. The ending saves everything. I do like how the author handled a lot of problems regarding race, and hate towards other races and countries(but in this book it was planets.) One of the things the author did, was have like animal people. Which are also known as Furries in our world and I cringed every time and wanted to hide in the corner and avoid the Furries. I HATE FURRIES. SOMEWHAT PLOT BUT I DON'T WANT TO SPOIL ANYTHING SO IT'LL BE VAGUE:In this book we have two different perspectives. We have the lost Princess, Rhiannon, who is trying to reclaim her throne, and to murder the man who killed her family. She is on this voyage and of course it gets horridly butchered, wuzzah, someone tries to assassinate her and it doesn't end well for the other person. She meets this random guy who saves her and they embark on a journey together. Rhee gets some revelations on her family as well as realizing that everything she thought WAS WRONG. BUM BUM BUM.And in our other perspective, we have Alyosha, whose name is the only reason he was a good character LOL. Aly is framed for trying to assassinate the Princess Rhionnan, and this is where his part of the story starts. We go along with him as he tries to evade the Space Empire or whatever, I forgot what it's called LOL. What makes this accusation crazy, is the fact that he is super famous and everyone looks up to him. There's a big planet prejudice as well, which makes him seems scandalous for murdering him the Princess. I'm not making sense so i'm ending the review here. I just didn't care for Aly. He has a best friend named Vin though and he was awesome, and for some reason I enjoyed the secondary characters more than the main characters. I know this didn't make it sense, oh well lol. Solo is out.
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    February 19, 2017
    4.5 stars. I'm usually not that into sci-fi, but had so much fun with this one!! Maybe because it still felt like YA fantasy... but in space. The worldbuilding was super interesting & original (like how most people store their memories in cubes that the government can potentially overwrite), and I LOVED the characters. The story's split between the main characters of Rhee and Aly. Rhee's family was killed, so she's supposed to be empress... until someone (view spoiler)[tries to kill her at t 4.5 stars. I'm usually not that into sci-fi, but had so much fun with this one!! Maybe because it still felt like YA fantasy... but in space. The worldbuilding was super interesting & original (like how most people store their memories in cubes that the government can potentially overwrite), and I LOVED the characters. The story's split between the main characters of Rhee and Aly. Rhee's family was killed, so she's supposed to be empress... until someone (view spoiler)[tries to kill her at the start of the story, too (hide spoiler)]. But if her bloodline dies out, so does a treaty that's stopping war. She has a rude awakening at the start as she sees just how "blind and willful" she's been, but quickly turns into a pretty badass heroine.Aly and Vin have spent the past 16 months on a spaceship as the stars of a reality show. Vin is a golden boy from high society, while Aly is a refugee with a super emotional backstory (I actually teared up and got really invested).There is SO much wonderful political commentary and discussion of relevant social issues woven throughout the plot that I wanted to hug the book so many times. It's just done so well. Aly's constantly aware that he's representing all Wraetans and has to check his behavior and think twice before doing what someone like Vin can just freely do (like argue). Aly faces a lot of prejudice and even asks why only the people with darker skin are constantly being compared with food. It's a pretty fast read, but there's a ton that happens and it never got boring! I kind of wish there had been more in this story, but I guess now the sequels are set up perfectly. So yeah -- the worldbuilding was really solid, the characters were well developed, the writing was strong, and this series seems like it's going to be awesome!I think it also helped that I read this right after Starfall -- I was definitely comparing them even though I did try not to...
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    February 19, 2017
    Ugh. I'm torn; parts of my loved this and parts of me were bored to tears. I decided on a 3 star, middle ground "I liked it but it didn't blow me away" rating. I may try to read this again when the second book comes out to see if I like it more at a better time, but it was somewhat predictable (who names a character Nero and expects the plot to be a shocking twist?) and a stretch. Definitely potential there but we'll see.
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  • Lauren
    February 17, 2017
    I'm super torn here... it's more like a 2.5/5 for me. I just... I wanted to like this book so much, but I just didn't. I didn't care for any of the characters at all, I didn't feel any sort of connection to the characters and their emotions really never made me feel anything. My biggest complaint was that this was super short and could have been fleshed out so much more but the author just didn't do anything with her world. The world building could have been phenomenal and they just didn't do an I'm super torn here... it's more like a 2.5/5 for me. I just... I wanted to like this book so much, but I just didn't. I didn't care for any of the characters at all, I didn't feel any sort of connection to the characters and their emotions really never made me feel anything. My biggest complaint was that this was super short and could have been fleshed out so much more but the author just didn't do anything with her world. The world building could have been phenomenal and they just didn't do anything with that. *sigh*This was such a huge disappointment for me, it sounded like such a good story.
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  • Emily May
    February 15, 2017
    “Was there really so much hatred in the universe, so much prejudice, even among people who claimed to be unbiased? Had this always been true?” Wow, this was... unexpected. I don't know about you, but these days I don't have very high hopes when it comes to the latest YA Fantasy/Sci-fi with a pretty cover. And, you know, Empress of a Thousand Skies was not the book I thought I was getting into when I picked it up. A male/female alternating POV, space travel, an empress trying to reclaim her thro “Was there really so much hatred in the universe, so much prejudice, even among people who claimed to be unbiased? Had this always been true?” Wow, this was... unexpected. I don't know about you, but these days I don't have very high hopes when it comes to the latest YA Fantasy/Sci-fi with a pretty cover. And, you know, Empress of a Thousand Skies was not the book I thought I was getting into when I picked it up. A male/female alternating POV, space travel, an empress trying to reclaim her throne... sounds like a mash-up of Carve the Mark and The Lunar Chronicles, right? But it's actually so so much more.I've seen reviews from others who thought this book was nothing new, or who compared it to Marissa Meyer's series, but I guess I get to say "it felt like I read a completely different book" for a positive reason this time. Empress of a Thousand Skies had breakneck pacing, diversity, ZERO romance until the very end of the book, and it took on some really important, timely issues.For me, this is exactly what science-fiction/speculative fiction should be. Belleza offers up a whole new universe of possibility, complete with power struggles and the threat of war. Into this, though, she also considers issues of race and racial profiling, technology, the media and privacy issues.We see a charismatic leader drumming up support for his campaign by promising to get rid of the dark-skinned Wraitian refugees and immigrants who were displaced after the Great War. We see Alytosha "Aly" being framed for a crime he didn't commit because of the colour of his skin - because everyone knows Wraitians are violent and unstable, right? It was deeply disturbing to see how much a dramatic and dangerous fantasy world could mirror our own.Perhaps even more terrifying, however, were the issues of privacy, and how technology continues to limit it. Most people in this world have a "cube" installed, which allows them to be online at all times and keeps a record of their memories. How great is it that you can revisit your memories or easily absolve yourself of a crime by showing people your cube playback? Except... what if others - hackers, the government, etc. - could get into your cube and spy on you? Or worse: change what's there? What if they could rewrite your memories to create the story they want? It makes me think of how easy it is to edit a screenshot of a post or tweet; how these days we can make it look like someone tweeted something - anything - that we want.So, yes, there is the expected YA fantasy "throne reclamation" going on, but there's so much more, too. And Rhee's story is, in itself, quite compelling. Many chapters end in evil cliffhangers to keep us hanging on breathlessly, and I especially liked the growth and development of Rhee's character. She starts so young and naive, but is allowed to change and adapt as the novel progresses. It felt natural and realistic, as did her survivor guilt after her family's accident.There are many reveals, some I guessed and some I didn't, but overall, I enjoyed this book so much. Entertaining, but with a lot to think about as well. I would have just liked it to be longer.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Glory
    February 12, 2017
    Я бы могла присоединиться к хору голосов, утверждающих, что книга проста и предсказуема. И к тем, кто не слишком впечатлился героиней. И к тем, кого напрягли политические связи. Могла бы, но не стану, потому что меня все устроило, и даже больше. Во-первых, мне понравились герои. Ри - последняя из длиннющей династии галактических императоров. Ее семью убили много лет назад, и она росла с мыслями о мести. Готовилась к мести и ни о чем другом думать не могла. Приближается ее 16-летие, время занять Я бы могла присоединиться к хору голосов, утверждающих, что книга проста и предсказуема. И к тем, кто не слишком впечатлился героиней. И к тем, кого напрягли политические связи. Могла бы, но не стану, потому что меня все устроило, и даже больше. Во-первых, мне понравились герои. Ри - последняя из длиннющей династии галактических императоров. Ее семью убили много лет назад, и она росла с мыслями о мести. Готовилась к мести и ни о чем другом думать не могла. Приближается ее 16-летие, время занять престол, но не все готовы видеть у власти девчонку. Однако есть и те, кто верит в право крови. Итого - покушение и спасение. Однако на всю Вселенную объявляют о смерти несостоявшейся императрицы. Али (вообще-то Алеша - без шуток - но не стыкуется у меня это имя и только в такой форме с чернокожим беженцем-дикарем, ага), так вот Али - совсем не типичный герой. Начать с того, что он персонаж реалити-шоу. Вообще он солдат-патрульный, которого сослали на периферию, вот только кому-то взбрело в голову снять передачу о буднях таких ребят, что в итоге вылилось в полномасштабное шоу "The Revolutionary Boys". Али, его напарник Винсент и их дроид Павел почти круглые сутки находятся под прицелом камер, а миллионы зрителей, затаив дыхание, следят за их жизнью и рабочими буднями. Али - своего рода знаменитость, но многие его ненавидят, ибо он беженец с одной из уничтоженных во время Великой войны планет. По стечению обстоятельств именно Али оказывается главным подозреваемым в убийстве Ри. А читателю остается лишь следить за двумя параллельными линиями - выжившей императрицы и беглого "преступника". Они не идеальны, они подростки, и они ошибаются. Ри не готова стать владычицей всея галактики, пока не готова. Она несколько избалованна, местами зашорена, ограничена в суждениях, а иногда и вовсе слепа. Но она живая и яркая. И она учится, растет, что самое важное. Али тоже крайне интересен и самобытен. Эти ребята - не картонки, а потому их недостатки не раздражали, а лишь добавляли красок образам. Во-вторых, мне понравились вот эти две параллельные линии, две точки зрения (повествование от третьего лица), которые так и не пересеклись (знаю, в аннотации сказано другое, но нет). Автор обещает дилогию, так что во второй книге долгожданная встреча наверняка состоится, но пока у героев свои пути, свои друзья-любимые-враги, своя судьба. И это круто. В-третьих, мне понравился мир. Он пока слабо прорисован, но всякие фишки, гаджеты, технологии будущего - прям здорово. Есть устройства, встроенные в мозг, которые записывают все воспоминания. Их можно иногда отключать и якобы невозможно взломать, зато человек потом по желанию просматривает любой период своей жизни. Напоминает интерфейс из "Пробного камня" Хест, только с несколько иными функциями. А еще автор выстроила сложные политические отношения между планетами, и это тоже классно. В них интересно разбираться, и чую, многое еще аукнется. Конечно, для космооперы всего этого маловато, но основа прекрасная, и я верю, что во второй книге все разовьется и расширится. В итоге, да, сюжет вас не удивит и не поразит в самое сердце, наверняка вы сумеете предугадать почти все повороты, но лично меня это не расстроило. Мне было приятно читать об этих героях, и я с удовольствием следила за развитием событий, чего и вам желаю.
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  • Lucia
    February 11, 2017
    I am sad to say that after promising start, Empress of a Thousand Skies went donwhill pretty fast for me and I lost interest in story and characters quite early in.It all comes back to poor storytelling. I didn’t like the way individual chapters were composed. Told in dual POV, each chapter ended with its own cliffy, then it switched to different POV with different setting and when we got back to previous POV, everything was resolved and we were just informed what had happened but never shown. I I am sad to say that after promising start, Empress of a Thousand Skies went donwhill pretty fast for me and I lost interest in story and characters quite early in.It all comes back to poor storytelling. I didn’t like the way individual chapters were composed. Told in dual POV, each chapter ended with its own cliffy, then it switched to different POV with different setting and when we got back to previous POV, everything was resolved and we were just informed what had happened but never shown. In short, this book is another example of telling not showing which resulted in narrations feeling impersonal and boring to me. The only plus was that it was easy to distinguish between „voices“ of individual POVs.My other problem was the lack of believable character transition. How was I supposed to believe that this immature childish girl is meant to be an empress of galaxy? It felt as if author was aiming to create her heroine as someone between warrior princess (typical badass YA heroine) and politics-smart (like Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy) but failed completely. To me, Rhee was just this sheltered girl ruled by her thoughts of revenge and blind to everything else. I don’t require perfect characters. On contrary, I love flawed ones. But reading about teenage foolishness doesn’t tickle my fancy.I’m disappointed, I expected so much more from this book. I expected that it would present more complex world and plot on a larger scale but I was mistaken. Simply said, Empress of a Thousand Skies can’t even hold a candle to most other sci-fi books that I have read.And the biggest disappointment? Misleading blurb! Empress and fugitive never even met. And THAT part of the blurb was the reason why I picked this book up in a first place…
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  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    February 7, 2017
    Honor, bravery, loyalty–these made up her ma’tan sarili, the three values.It was an everyday Kalusian greeting, but it meant much more than hello or goodbye. It translated to “highest self,” and to say it was a pledge to be the best person you could be.In a time of heightened political turmoil, Empress of a Thousand Skies is relevant more than ever. Even though, this is a space opera, the story parallels the contemporary world we live in. It’s a tale of Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, the last of Honor, bravery, loyalty–these made up her ma’tan sarili, the three values.It was an everyday Kalusian greeting, but it meant much more than hello or goodbye. It translated to “highest self,” and to say it was a pledge to be the best person you could be.In a time of heightened political turmoil, Empress of a Thousand Skies is relevant more than ever. Even though, this is a space opera, the story parallels the contemporary world we live in. It’s a tale of Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, the last of her clan, who’s determined at avenging and reclaiming her throne. There’s also Alyosha, a refugee reality star, who was falsely accused of killing the future Empress. 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. It’s an epic battle of planet wars, heroic rebellions, vengeance, and the true spirit of a dynasty. Freedom and unity. It would make any reader ponder that we’d never really progressed, we just keep reverting and repeating our history.Empress of a Thousand Skies has a deliberate pace with a dauntingly technical world building. It’s set in a galaxy with diverse planets and moons. Every habitat has complex culture, mythology, language, religion, and social constructs. Some species are also different than others. There is a cult-like appeal. The politics and nuances are well established. There’s an intricate structure of classism and, racism. It’s by far my favorite aspect.The characters are relatable, you can’t help but root for them. Even though, you won’t agree with their choices sometimes. I love the barbed humor, especially Aly’s. Rhee’s naïve ruthlessness, her strangeness to power. The privilege was also acknowledged.I did see some of the twists that were thrown in, but damn that epilogue would certainly string a handful of readers. I shed a tear. There’s no romance, but there’s an underlying possibility. I’m excited for all the things the sequel would explore. This book is so perfect for Star Wars and SAGA fans.Do you want to read a refreshing story about resistance led by brown and black characters? It’s time to pick up Empress of a Thousand Skies. This is the revolution, I could get behind. Review to come.
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  • Maraia
    February 2, 2017
    DNF @ 135 pagesMy goal this year is to be even better at DNF’ing books that aren’t worth my time. Unfortunately, this is one of them. I can see why younger readers or sci-fi newbies would enjoy this book, and I hope it introduces new readers to the genre. As someone who prefers adult sci-fi, however, I’m unimpressed by what I read of Empress of a Thousand Skies. After 135 pages, not much has happened, and I still have no interest in the characters or their fates. There’s nothing that makes me wa DNF @ 135 pagesMy goal this year is to be even better at DNF’ing books that aren’t worth my time. Unfortunately, this is one of them. I can see why younger readers or sci-fi newbies would enjoy this book, and I hope it introduces new readers to the genre. As someone who prefers adult sci-fi, however, I’m unimpressed by what I read of Empress of a Thousand Skies. After 135 pages, not much has happened, and I still have no interest in the characters or their fates. There’s nothing that makes me want to pick up the book and keep reading. That being said, I think plenty of readers will love this book. I just isn’t for me. **I did win this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway, but that doesn’t affect my opinion of it.
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  • Laura
    January 31, 2017
    Princess Rhiannon is the sole survivor of the Ta'an legacy. Her family has had the throne for twelve generations. And if Rhee has her way, that won't stop now. She is finally turning sixteen in a week meaning she's coming of age and can take her throne. The only thing standing in her way is the vengeance she plans to take. When she was six, her entire family died in a crash officially called an accident, but Rhee knew it was murder. Her father had just signed the Urnew treaty ending the Great Wa Princess Rhiannon is the sole survivor of the Ta'an legacy. Her family has had the throne for twelve generations. And if Rhee has her way, that won't stop now. She is finally turning sixteen in a week meaning she's coming of age and can take her throne. The only thing standing in her way is the vengeance she plans to take. When she was six, her entire family died in a crash officially called an accident, but Rhee knew it was murder. Her father had just signed the Urnew treaty ending the Great War. Narrowly escaping an assassination attempt, Rhee is alive while the world thinks she is dead. All the while, she is trying to find out who she can really trust. Alyosha is one of the stars of The Revolutionary Boys, a reality show that films Aly and his partner Vincent doing their UniForce job. The show has a following. Aly also happens to be a refugee from a planet that got bombed as a part of the Great War. His planet's people are viewed poorly. This opens him up to being accused of assassinating the princess forcing him on the run for a crime he did not commit.Get ready for extremely complex galaxy politics! There are a lot of different planets with a rather deep history among them. It is a little hard to understand where exactly all the planets are in relation to each other especially with settlements on moons and planets. I did appreciate the great use of diversity. The story is filled with futuristic tech, which is pretty cool. Most people are equipped with a cube. It is basically a thing that records all your memories. There are also droids and cool details to the spaceships that really bring to life that space setting.At times, the story was a little slow. I kept waiting for Aly and Rhee's paths to finally cross, but that never actually happens. Hopefully in the sequel? The big twist at the end is extremely predictable especially if you pay attention to details in the plot. It bothered me how the characters didn't get it, though. I do want to see where the story goes next and how things end up for Rhee, Aly, and the rest of the characters. If you read a lot of YA sci-fi, don't expect anything completely original. This is still an entertaining enough read.
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  • Bryce
    January 30, 2017
    I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found on my blog. This book is soooo freakinggg goood. I flew through this in two days, and the fast-paced plot combined with the dynamic characters kept me hooked the whole way through. I LOVE space books; like, it's a problem. Literally all you have to do to sell me on a book is say "aliens" or "space" and I'll be all over it in a heartbeat. So when I read the synopsis for this book, I immediately got super excited. I I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found on my blog. This book is soooo freakinggg goood. I flew through this in two days, and the fast-paced plot combined with the dynamic characters kept me hooked the whole way through. I LOVE space books; like, it's a problem. Literally all you have to do to sell me on a book is say "aliens" or "space" and I'll be all over it in a heartbeat. So when I read the synopsis for this book, I immediately got super excited. I did not want to be disappointed with this book, and luckily, I definitely wasn't.This book has duel POVs, which I think worked for this book but also didn't. The two MCs have almost completely different storylines, so it's kind of hard keep track of what all is going on. On the other hand, it added a lot more to the overall storyline, and I think the POV style will work better in the next book. It also allowed for a lot more characters, which I loved. All of the characters in this book are hella kickass, especially the MCs. And, one of them is POC, which was really cool to see! Add it to the list #WeNeedDiverseBooks!The world-building in this book is pretty cool (did I mention space???) so I definitely give props to the author for that. But, that said, with multiple planets and species, it does get a little confusing. Some sort of guide or map would've been really helpful when reading. I did find a map on Penguin's website, but I don't know if it'll be in the final copies of the book or not.Despite the few small problems, this book is one of the best books I've read in a long time! The combo of sci-fi and fantasy (my two favorite genres) was totally awesome, and not only that, but there are elements of revenge and betrayal going on too. I mean, if you aren't sold yet I don't know how else to convince you. Did I mention SPACE OPERA?!?!Final Verdict: Read it. Trust me. Just read it.
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  • Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
    January 30, 2017
    1.5 StarsThis novel left me colder then an asteroid in deep space.The novel utilises a lot of cheap tension building tricks that felt unearned. There were also several niggling irritations that ruined my immersion in the story. The Hidden Info Dump Whereby the author tries to avoid large info dumps by beginning the novel in media res but accidentally inserts flashbacks and info dumps into the opening scene. Made worse when the reader discovers there is no real danger and the character is actuall 1.5 StarsThis novel left me colder then an asteroid in deep space.The novel utilises a lot of cheap tension building tricks that felt unearned. There were also several niggling irritations that ruined my immersion in the story. The Hidden Info Dump Whereby the author tries to avoid large info dumps by beginning the novel in media res but accidentally inserts flashbacks and info dumps into the opening scene. Made worse when the reader discovers there is no real danger and the character is actually trying to be a condescending dickhead to her friend/ crush by refusing his thoughtful gift and delaying an entire spaceship to do so. I know this probably sounds nit picky but it is symptomatic of the novel as a whole. Literary techniques, poorly applied, that constantly remind me I am reading a novel. I read a quote the other day where someone said "they keep writing until it doesn't sound like writing anymore". This novel is a perfect example of what the quote was saying to avoid. All of the plot, structure and character techniques used could work but they are too obvious. When I can see the threads that make up the tapestry it stops being a beautiful work of art and becomes an ugly pile of fabric.NeroDon't set up a situation in which one character is meant to be the "big bad" and then name another character Nero. I was not surprised by this twist- in fact any 9 year old who has watched Horrible Histories is going to figure it out the first time they see a character called Nero. (If you haven't heard of this show click the link, it's hilarious.)The problem is it created false tension that, as a reader, I didn't believe. For a substantial portion of the book the question "will Rhee reach the regent and get her revenge" drove the plot without driving my interest. It was so clear she had no idea what was really going on. I was impatient for the obvious reveal, instead of excited or confused. TSTL protagonistsRhee and Aly were so reactive. They had no plans, confused goals and kept acting in stupid ways. It is hard to feel anxiety and anticipation about a plot and the fate of characters when they are acting like balls in a pinball machine. Manufactured TensionTension must be earned.I remember coming across advice years ago from one of those no name authors that sells writing advice like a multi-level marketing scheme suggested writers end every chapter on a cliffhanger. At the time I thought it was stupid advice. This book really proved why. So many chapters end on a "hook" where either Aly or Rhee appear to be about to die- seriously nearly every chapter, some examples; - choking to death- Spaceship crash- Explosion - Killer robots- Trapped in room with Nero- Captured by guards- Fisticuffs - Overdose- Prison- Trapped in a room with Nero (again)I didn't believe that Belleza was going to kill off her protagonists and I felt no doubt whatsoever that the bumbling fools would wriggle their way out of trouble. This left me feeling irritated not excited. Well written books can keep me hooked with seemingly low stakes questions. Unbecoming a YA novel which is driven by the questions "will grandma be put in a nursing home", "will the women in this family ever understand each other", and "will the protagonist admit she is gay" had no fast paced action, no near death scenes and no cheap "hooks" at the end of chapters. But I was riveted. I felt intense anxiety for the main characters. I knew what they wanted and I desperately wanted them to succeed.In Empress I felt no such investment. The characters didn't know what they really wanted and so I didn't care what they got.Fake swearingTaejis Taejis TaejisLook I've seen firsthand reviews where people have panned a book because it included swearing (Between Shades of Gray being dnf'd for piss, bitch and shit was the craziest example). I also recognise that with a YA base you don't want to alienate the potential gatekeepers for your main audience (parents of teenagers)....However, I find fake swear words insufferable. I found myself mentally replacing taejis with shit every time I read it which slowed me down and destroyed my immersion in the story. I don't mind phrases that add colour to the world (Merlin's beard!) but I think writers should make a choice and stick to it. Either let your characters swear or don't. Fake expletives annoy everyone. AmnesiaAgain with the cheap tricks. We know who Kara is ffs. It was so fucking obvious who she was supposed to be!Amnesia can only be employed in two circumstances. The first is if you write mills and boon books about domestic violence and glistening abs. The second is in novels that frame the amnesia in such a way as to drive character development- where it is an essential experience for the character. When I know a character has amnesia so the author can massage the plot in the hopes of another book deal, the novel has failed the "acceptable amnesia" test. For examples of when amnesia works as a plot point consider basically any book with the name Alice in the title published in the last 5 years. ;) ConclusionThe book read like a deliberately constructed paint by numbers YA. It reminded me a lot of how I felt after reading Rebel of the Sands. Everything should have worked. But nothing did.
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  • Alyssa
    January 28, 2017
    Not bad, but a little... boring? Predictable? I saw the twist in the end from miles away. But so many things (and not just the ending) felt way too convenient, throughout the story.***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda BellezaBook One of the Empress of a Thousand Skies seriesPublisher: RazorbillPublication Date: February 7, 2017Rating: 3 starsSource: eARC from EdelweissSummary (from Goodreads):EmpressRhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, Not bad, but a little... boring? Predictable? I saw the twist in the end from miles away. But so many things (and not just the ending) felt way too convenient, throughout the story.***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda BellezaBook One of the Empress of a Thousand Skies seriesPublisher: RazorbillPublication Date: February 7, 2017Rating: 3 starsSource: eARC from EdelweissSummary (from Goodreads):EmpressRhee, 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.FugitiveAly 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.MadmanWith 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.What I Liked:I don't think this book was terrible, but it was great for me. I can see myself reading the second book next year, since it's the conclusion to this series. Duologies are awesome. But I wasn't all that impressed by this book. For all the hype I've seen from certain bloggers and the publisher itself, this book isn't actually that special. This book is told from the POVs of Rhee, and Aly. Rhee is Crown Princess, set to become Empress on her upcoming sixteenth birthday. She is on her way to the planet where she'll swear her oaths when she is attacked and nearly killed. A mysterious boy named Dahlen rescues her, and she escapes the ship with him. But everyone thinks that she is dead, and the Regent has assumed power and has declared war on other planets. Her death has been blamed on the star of a DroneVision show, Alyosha. Aly is Wraetan, which is why the princess's murder is pinned on him. With a hefty bounty on his head, he is forced to flee. He meets a strange girl on the way to freedom, and he learns things about the technology everyone uses that shakes him to the core. Rhee is fighting for her throne, and Aly is fighting for his freedom. There is only one path to both of those goals, and no matter the choices, it involves war. I love science fiction, especially YA science fiction. This type of science fiction reminded me a little of Star Wars. There are ships and space travel and species of creatures other than humans. There is a man trying to claim power as Emperor who is similar to the Emperor of Star Wars. There are droids, good and bad - the good one, Pavel, is awesome.Rhee starts the story as a girl trained in secret to take the throne as Empress. She is desperate to get revenge on her family (parents and older sister), who were murdered years ago. The man who had them murdered has the power, but not for long, with her claiming the throne. She is blind and naive, in the beginning. As the story goes on, she becomes smarter, less blind, and more cognizant of the fact that ascending the throne and having her revenge wasn't going to be easy, with or without the attempts on her life.While I didn't dislike Rhee, I liked Aly much more. He is a Wraetan refugee who joined the galaxy's military at a fairly young age, and gained fame as part of a duo that is featured on a show on DroneVision. His buddy Vincent turns out to be someone with a lot of secrets - not just the golden boy of the show. Aly is a smart guy, and he is a creative mechanic who seems to be able to build anything out of a few parts. I liked Aly's change of attitude - he goes from being comfortable in his current life and wanting no part of wars and revolutions, to accepting his fugitive fate and trying to stay alive. He does what he can to clear his name, but even that isn't enough.Points to the author for including a cast of diverse characters. I believe Rhee is supposed to be Filipino-inspired, in features? Tanned skin and black hair - though I'm not sure for certain. Aly has black skin. You don't often see a black protagonist in YA science fiction (I'm talking primary characters). There are two very important secondary characters that I liked a lot. Dahlen is the boy who rescues Rhee and tries to get her to where his order resides. His order (sort of like a religious order) is extremely important in the story, though this is revealed very late in the story. Dahlen has a lot to fight for, and a lot of secrets. The other important character is Kara, a girl that Aly encounters and they end up saving each other's lives. Kara is as street-smart as Aly, and the pair become inseparable. This book is written in dual POV, and I think this really worked for the story. I do take issue with a small part of the synopsis (which I'll discuss below). But I liked how the storylines were completely separate, working towards different goals that end up aligning as the story goes on. I can't say I was totally immersed in the story, but I did like how it was told.The ending didn't really shock me? As soon as a certain plot point and then another thing was introduced, I knew. There is one more book to follow, so it'll be interesting to see how certain things play out. I'll probably read the second book, if only to see how the story wraps up.What I Did Not Like:This book was a little on the boring side. Sure, I can forgive most slow-starting fiction novels, especially science fiction ones. I don;'t necessarily mind slow stars, as long as the rest of the novel picks up. But with this book, I never felt like the story picked up. I mean, the climax arrived and it definitely felt like the climax of the story, but the entire story really went at a slow pace. I think the story might have benefited more if both book one and book two (which has not been published yet) were combined to make one large standalone. On that note? This book was rather short? I flew it very quickly, despite being bored almost out of my mind. It's less than 350 pages which, to me, is short.I think Aly's POV was what kept me reading? I liked him a lot, and his droid Pavel. Pavel reminded me of C3PO in Star Wars. Rhee's POV... meh. She gets caught, she escapes, she gets caught, she escapes, rinse and repeat.Let's talk about that line of the synopsis that pissed me off a little. It says: "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."Let's revisit the define of "together", shall we? In proximity, in contact, in union. It can also mean simultaneously, very loosely. The synopsis makes us believe that Rhee and Aly will literally be together, occupying the same space. This is never the case. They only "interact" one time, and it's a scene in which they make eye contact, and then Aly leaves the scene. Neither really recognize the other (well, Rhee might have recognized Aly, but Aly couldn't make recognized Rhee given her effective disguise). So... they weren't "thrown together". And they're not even technically confronting the same "ruthless evil". Rhee is facing off with a tyrant, and Aly has been exposed to a terrible evil that Rhee learns about in the last pages. Their goals align, but they're not really facing the same thing. I know that might not make a lot of sense, but I don't want to spoil too much. Anyway, do you see my point about that line of the synopsis? It's misleading and annoying, because I kept waiting for Rhee and Aly to physically meet and then work together. If that line hadn't been in the synopsis, I wouldn't have cared. Instead, Rhee spent the majority of the novel following Dahlen, and Aly spent about half the novel with his buddy Vincent, and the other half with Kara.Romance - there is romance on Aly's side (you can probably guess), but not on Rhee's side. I don't care either way. Rhee and Aly isn't going to be a thing, purely based on the fact that they haven't even met yet. I do hope we get to see Rhee spend time with her childhood friend whom she had to leave when she boarded the ship to be sworn in as Empress. That would be a cute romance! Anyway I'm not bothered by the lack of romance, but just not that there isn't really any. And definitely do not expect Aly and Rhee to get together or anything (in the romantic sense, or otherwise).The plot with the technology - so the technology is kind of big deal in this galaxy. There are these things called cubes that you have attached and implanted (but it's external, so you can touch it). You can store memories and parts of yourself self (from your mind) in the cube, so you can always have that information. Everyone is always "online", and when they come "offline", they feel discomfort and sickness. There is a big plot twist about the cubes. My complaint is that I literally do not understand how the cubes work, or what they even look like. The author did a very poor job of explaining the cubes and their appearance. Notice how I gave a vague description of the cubes? It's because I didn't get a good feel for them. In theory, the technology sounds interesting (though painful in terms of installation), but I wanted to know more about how they work and what they look like. Especially since they become a big deal, towards the end of the book. My final complaint - what is up with that title? Literally no one becomes Empress, in this story. I don't think it's fair to name a book "Empress of a Thousand Skies" when there is no Empress in this particular book. Maybe name book two "Empress of a Thousand Skies"? We'll probably have an Empress by then. But in this book, Rhee is Crown Princess, and then she is nothing (she has to go into hiding after the attempt on her life). The title is neat and catchy and flowery, but doesn't really make sense in the context of this book. Would I Recommend It:Ehhh, not really. It's not a bad book! But it's also nothing new, nothing intriguing, nothing life-changing. It's not a bad book, but it's not nearly as OMG-THIS-IS-SO-GOOD as a few bloggers I've seen made it out to be. Conversely though, there have been some bloggers on Goodreads that absolutely did not enjoy this book. So I know I'm not alone! If you're a fan of YA science fiction, like me, this one might be a little disappointing. I can point you in the direction of much better space-related science fiction novels, futuristic science fiction novels, and other science fiction novels in YA in general.Rating:3 stars. I didn't really hate the book or feel negatively toward it, so I'm not going to give it 2 stars. There were parts of the book that I liked overall (Aly, Pavel, the dual POV), but for the most part, the novel is nothing special or particularly entertaining. Not a waste of my time, but noth a book I feel strongly about (either way). I think I will read the sequel though, because it should be more interesting and exciting than this book.
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  • Vikki
    January 25, 2017
    Book Giveaway!I am giving away a copy of Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. To enter:1) You must be a friend/following this Goodreads account (tiggertheturtle)2) Leave a comment below telling me your favorite author3) Must be 18 years of age or have parental consent4) Open internationally5) No giveaway accounts 6) This giveaway is no way endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, or Wordpress. 7) You have until March 10th to enter. Winner will be randomly se Book Giveaway!I am giving away a copy of Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. To enter:1) You must be a friend/following this Goodreads account (tiggertheturtle)2) Leave a comment below telling me your favorite author3) Must be 18 years of age or have parental consent4) Open internationally5) No giveaway accounts 6) This giveaway is no way endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, or Wordpress. 7) You have until March 10th to enter. Winner will be randomly selected March 12th. For additional entries (4 entries per person total possible):1) Follow me on Twitter @tiggertheturtle and follow directions on my Twitter giveaway post 2) Follow me on Instagram @tiggertheturtle and follow directions on my Instagram giveaway post3) Follow me on Wordpress https://tiggertheturtle.wordpress.com and follow directions on my Wordpress giveaway postGood luck to everyone and happy reading!
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  • Alexa
    January 25, 2017
    I'm pretty tickled pink by this science fiction adventure! Even though I certainly found elements of the plot predictable, I still found the it fun to watch the story unfold. And I liked the unique elements of it, though admittedly a teensy bit confusing for a science fiction newbie like me at times. Still, it was certainly one fun ride!
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  • Angel Erin
    January 24, 2017
    Hooray!! I won this book in the Goodreads giveaways! I'm so thrilled and I can't wait to read it!! :D
  • Taylor Knight
    January 22, 2017
    This book was almost everything I wanted it to be and more. I absolutely fell in love with the word building and the characters were amazing. I'd never read a "space opera", as this was repeatedly described as, but I loved it. It was so exciting and fun and I couldn't get enough of it. It was a little confusing at times but I didn't mind.I really liked the characters even though I never became emotionally invested in them. The only reason I gave this book four stars is because the synopsis says This book was almost everything I wanted it to be and more. I absolutely fell in love with the word building and the characters were amazing. I'd never read a "space opera", as this was repeatedly described as, but I loved it. It was so exciting and fun and I couldn't get enough of it. It was a little confusing at times but I didn't mind.I really liked the characters even though I never became emotionally invested in them. The only reason I gave this book four stars is because the synopsis says Rhee and Aly "are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy" and that never happens. It felt like false advertising and a marketing ploy.But other than that, I loved this book. Empress of a Thousand Skies has diverse characters, an awesome concept, and killer world building.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 21, 2017
    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/01/29/...The last couple years have seen me get a lot pickier with my choice of YA reads, the key reason being that originality is such a rare quality in the genre these days. That’s why when I first came upon the description of The Empress of a Thousand Skies, I thought it showed promise—because sometimes, it’s not what a book’s blurb says that seals the deal; it’s what it doesn’t say. Despite the synopsis being rather short and 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/01/29/...The last couple years have seen me get a lot pickier with my choice of YA reads, the key reason being that originality is such a rare quality in the genre these days. That’s why when I first came upon the description of The Empress of a Thousand Skies, I thought it showed promise—because sometimes, it’s not what a book’s blurb says that seals the deal; it’s what it doesn’t say. Despite the synopsis being rather short and vague, I liked how it mainly focused on the roles of the characters themselves and the way these mini-profiles teased possibilities and potential.First, we have the Empress—or soon-to-be Empress. Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, affectionately known as Rhee, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty that has ruled the galaxy for hundreds of years. Today, on her sixteenth birthday, she will come of age and return to her seat of power to take back her rule, which a regent has been holding for her in trust ever since Rhee’s parents and older sister were killed in a starship crash. Everyone called it an accident, but Rhee knows in her heart that it was not. For the last ten years she has been training and preparing for this day, the day she will be crowned Empress so she can finally take revenge on the one who orchestrated her family’s death.However, the enemy’s reach is long and before Rhee can reach her destination, she becomes the target of a last-ditch assassination attempt. Against all odds she manages to survive, but the official word gets out that she has been killed, with the deed being pinned on a well-known reality show star. Enter Alyosha, the Fugitive. Overnight, Aly goes from being adored by fans to becoming the most wanted man in the galaxy. Now he is on the run, desperate to clear his name and find out why he has been framed. Meanwhile, Rhee teams up with an unexpected ally on her quest for the truth, and together they forge ahead with her plans to expose a Madman and to stop them from plunging the galaxy into all-out war.So, did Empress of a Thousand Skies meet my expectations? Well…yes and no. While I had a good time with the book, it also didn’t take me long to realize the story wasn’t going to blow me away in the originality department as I’d hoped it would. Books featuring that timeworn cliché of a sole surviving royal character seeking vengeance for their murdered family are a dime a dozen, and I was really hoping Rhee’s story was going to add something more to this, but it didn’t. In fact, the entire book was rather predictable, with a plot that felt heavily formulaic and on-rails like a theme park ride you’ve been on many times before. Overall, the book’s themes and messages were commonplace and relatively bland. Even the “twists” were pretty well scripted in advance, with foreshadowing that’s so obvious that anyone paying close attention will know exactly what’s coming.There was also this sense that the author wanted us to like her protagonist, and yet the story never failed to drive home Rhee’s many shortcomings every chance it could, with an almost cruel consistency. I wanted to root for Rhee, I really did, but the writing itself made that hard to do when it was constantly reminding me what a spoiled and sheltered princess she was, whose naiveté always steered her wrong or made her plans seem half-baked and ineffectual. Poor girl could never catch a break.And yet, you know how there are movies you can watch over and over again without getting bored, the ones you can still enjoy even when you can recite all the lines and know when everything’s going to happen? Reading this book was a little like that. No matter how predictable the story got, I never stopped having fun with it. There was also enough to keep me interested, especially Aly’s chapters which offered a more unique point of view. And while world-building was a little lacking, there were a still a number of details that jumped out at me, such as the cool tech or the political relationships between the different cultures. It would be nice to see the next book elaborate on these areas.For a YA novel, Empress of a Thousand Skies doesn’t bring anything terribly new to the table, but it’s still a pretty solid debut. The book was fun despite its flaws, the main ones being the story’s predictability and the weak development of the main character, but all that can be overlooked if you’re just looking for an entertaining read. It is the first of a planned duology and I am definitely planning on seeing it through to the end.Audiobook Comments: As an audiobook, Empress of a Thousand Skies was the listening equivalent of “unputdownable”. Because their stories are relatively straightforward, I find that YA novels typically make for very fast and addictive listens, and this one was no exception. I’m also no stranger to the work of Rebecca Soler, one of my favorite audiobook narrators, having been a fan of hers since listening to her read Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series. Since she always puts everything into her performances, I couldn’t imagine Soler bringing anything but her A-game to this one, and I was right.
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  • Lindsay Cummings
    January 16, 2017
    Amazing world building! Loved this fantastic debut. (Later review to come)
  • Lola Reviewer
    January 10, 2017
    This was one of my first space operas. What an entertaining genre. Strangely enough, melodrama is more fun in outer space, go figure.There isn’t anything original about the plot: it’s about a princess whose parents were murdered, ready to seek vengeance on the murderer. I’m feeling underwhelmed by the amount of books that try to sell that overused cliché. Because that’s what it is.Fortunately, we have another main character aside from Rhiannon. A reality star. That was unexpected. When Rhiannon This was one of my first space operas. What an entertaining genre. Strangely enough, melodrama is more fun in outer space, go figure.There isn’t anything original about the plot: it’s about a princess whose parents were murdered, ready to seek vengeance on the murderer. I’m feeling underwhelmed by the amount of books that try to sell that overused cliché. Because that’s what it is.Fortunately, we have another main character aside from Rhiannon. A reality star. That was unexpected. When Rhiannon is presumed dead, Aly is the first suspect. It’s quite melodramatic. I guess I liked that about EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES because it was fun to witness the reactions of the characters when they discovered shocking data. If you don’t skim over passages, you’ll be able to predict almost every big thing that happens. Good or bad?Not that bad, since the little things are not so predictable, and there’s a good couple of surprising events. And even though I was very capable of foreseeing revelations, I still got unexpected chills. Rhoda Belleza can built intensity like a chef. About the world-building, we don’t have a map, so for me it was tremendously difficult to place the different planets in relations to one another. A glossary would also have been welcome. This is the first book in a series, so we know the author will expand the world, but so far, there is almost nothing worth remembering about it. It’s so blank. I liked the idea of personal robots, but that’s not really new in science fiction. It’s sort of expected even.The characters are relatable ones. They acted very humanly. I can’t say I’m in love with them, but they didn’t annoy me, which is a compliment. They try, at the best of their capabilities, to right wrongs, even if they act recklessly in the process. I’m looking at you Rhiannon. I’m not sure I’d want her to be my empress. In fact, I’d be scared if she were. Not of her, but for her. Because she’s not that strong. But strength can be gained. Not a bad start to a new space opera series. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Stacee
    December 28, 2016
    I went into this book expecting to love it. I mean, look at that cover. And the synopsis sounded awesome. Plus I had seen lots of high reviews calling it a space opera. Sadly, I was quite disappointed.I didn't really connect to Rhee or Aly. At first, I enjoyed the story and I figured the parts that were a bit meh would be fixed when they got together. You know, because the synopsis says they're "thrown together" yet, that never happened. There's one brief scene where they glance at each other fr I went into this book expecting to love it. I mean, look at that cover. And the synopsis sounded awesome. Plus I had seen lots of high reviews calling it a space opera. Sadly, I was quite disappointed.I didn't really connect to Rhee or Aly. At first, I enjoyed the story and I figured the parts that were a bit meh would be fixed when they got together. You know, because the synopsis says they're "thrown together" yet, that never happened. There's one brief scene where they glance at each other from across the room, but they have no interaction the story.I did like the dual POV, I'm always a fan of that. My main problem was that there would be all sorts of dramatic build up to end a chapter of one character and when we would get back to them, everything was resolved. We didn't see whatever happened, it was just stated and then there was a time jump.As for the world building, I legit have no idea what's happening. I loved the idea of the cubes and all of the plot around them, but by the time the reveal started happening, I was bored.There was an interesting bit at the end, but it was much too little and far too late for me. I doubt I'll be reading the next book.**Huge thanks to Razorbill for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Brittany (Brittany's Book Rambles)
    December 10, 2016
    4.5/5 StarsRead my full review of Empress of a Thousand SkiesEmpress of a Thousand Skies would best be described in three words: constant adrenaline rush. From the very moment you start reading, there is a tremendous amount of intrigue, action, and grief. It's one of those books that is impossible to put down because laying it aside for even a second would disrupt the energy of the moment. Rhoda's writing style pulls you in, leaving you feeling just as passionately immersed in what's happening a 4.5/5 StarsRead my full review of Empress of a Thousand SkiesEmpress of a Thousand Skies would best be described in three words: constant adrenaline rush. From the very moment you start reading, there is a tremendous amount of intrigue, action, and grief. It's one of those books that is impossible to put down because laying it aside for even a second would disrupt the energy of the moment. Rhoda's writing style pulls you in, leaving you feeling just as passionately immersed in what's happening as the characters themselves.For the most part, the book is written in dual POVs. I personally preferred Alyosha's POV over Rhiannon's, but they are both wonderfully intriguing characters, and I loved getting to know them. Another great thing about this book is that it's one of the most diverse reads I've encountered all year, and it's written by a POC author, which is awesome! It's definitely the kind of book that's important for people to read and spread the word about right now.Overall, Empress of a Thousand Skies is a hard-hitting, compelling, and fast-paced story that sci-fi lovers will definitely enjoy.
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  • Anissa (FairyLoot)
    November 26, 2016
    One of the best sci-fi books I've ever read, full of surprising twists, memorable characters and diversity. Loved it!
  • D.J.
    October 9, 2016
    Full of action, exciting twists, and smooth writing, Empress of a Thousand Skies is a rousing debut by an author to watch. Everything from the descriptions to the alternating points of view work seamlessly together to create an evenly paced story with diverse characters who are as complex as they are endearing. Some twists I saw coming, but that didn't make them any less satisfying.Now, when can I get the sequel?
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  • Adam Silvera
    October 3, 2016
    This book is B-A-D-A-S-S. It's like Game of Thrones in space and IDK why I have to say more than that but I will: it's like ARYA STARK from Game of Thrones in space. Rhee is a total badass and I will follow her badassery and determination across every sky.
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  • Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
    September 9, 2016
    Diverse characters from an author who is Filipino? I'm so there! Let's hope I get approved on EW.. yeah I got declined but that's okay..
  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    June 15, 2016
    8/4/16We have a cover! I like it =D---More fantasy/sci-fi? Sign me up!
  • Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
    March 23, 2016
    For fans of The Lunar Chronicles? I NEED IT
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