Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Empress of a Thousand Skies

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 da...

Title:Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1101999101
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:314 pages

Empress of a Thousand Skies Reviews

  • Adam Silvera

    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.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    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

    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

    . 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

    try not to...

  • Emily May

    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,

    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

    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,

    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

    and

    , 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.

    had

    .

    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?

    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 -

    - 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.

    , 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,

    . Entertaining, but with a lot to think about as well. I would have just liked it to be longer.

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  • Lola  Reviewer

    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

    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.

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  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    2.5*

    This was a super fast read but it was almost rushed. I was very confused and bored quite frankly for the majority of it. I felt like the story wasn't very well fleshed out. It had tons of potential but just ended up falling flat. The characters were flat as well. I just didn't connect with them, or anything else about the story. The concept was cool but I just felt lost, frustrated because I couldn't figure out what was going on, and then bored for the majority of it. Writing was pretty good

    2.5*

    This was a super fast read but it was almost rushed. I was very confused and bored quite frankly for the majority of it. I felt like the story wasn't very well fleshed out. It had tons of potential but just ended up falling flat. The characters were flat as well. I just didn't connect with them, or anything else about the story. The concept was cool but I just felt lost, frustrated because I couldn't figure out what was going on, and then bored for the majority of it. Writing was pretty good and the world was cool (if it had been developed more that would have been even better). I also enjoyed the fact that it dealt with important contemporary issues in an away setting. It wasn't awful, but I wasn't a big fan, hence the 2.5.


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