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
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:314 pages

Empress of a Thousand Skies Reviews

  • Adam Silvera
    Oct 03, 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.

  • Laura
    Jan 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

    , 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.

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    Feb 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

    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
    Sep 26, 2016

    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
    Jan 10, 2017

    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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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    Feb 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.

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
    Feb 19, 2017

    (which are challenged and condemned, and do not come from the main characters)

    Let's get this out of the way :

    , space princesses who seek revenge aren't new to the game.

    , one cannot really praise

    for its unpredictability. Alright? We're good? Now let's talk about all the wonderful aspects that made me love it.

    I've seen a lot of complaints about the somewhat misleadi

    (which are challenged and condemned, and do not come from the main characters)

    Let's get this out of the way :

    , space princesses who seek revenge aren't new to the game.

    , one cannot really praise

    for its unpredictability. Alright? We're good? Now let's talk about all the wonderful aspects that made me love it.

    I've seen a lot of complaints about the somewhat misleading blurb, but I wouldn't know : I never read them. I also skip loooong plots recap in reviews, because they're boring? Like?? If I want to know the story I'll read the damn book, thanks?

    It doesn't mean I'll go full blind, though, and I guess you won't either, so

    Princess Rhiannon - Rhee - has been living sheltered on a far-away moon since the death of her entire family when she was six. Now she's out to take revenge and claim her throne. Alyosha is a military/reality-star (I know, weird mix, but it works, I swear!) who's been trying to get people to accept him his whole life, but without avail,

    Think about a world - a universe, really - where almost everyone spend their whole life connected on the cube, a device that enhances memories and allows you to replay your favorites over and over again - and bury those you'd rather forget. Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? Good. You should be. Think about a world where it's okay for leaders to start a war to get their hands on a planet's most valuable resources, using systemic racism as a tool to prevent any kind of empathy towards the refugees these wars create. Oh, does it remind you of something? I figured.

    I've read my fair share of "this is nothing new", "read this one instead" and

    Of course

    relies on a well-known structure! [insert a duh here] Now, I don't know about you,

    Don't you?

    Add to this

    their cube creates, some of them terrifying, and you'll get a thought-provoking novel that has nothing to envy to many YA out there.

    As for

    per se, it wasn't fully detailed but I still could get a sense of how the different societies worked - it includes different alien races, religion, and even some sort of UN (Aly's description was hilarious, by the way). Sure, the multiple alien races made it a bit confusing to navigate through at first, but you know what? I LOVED that we didn't have to go through pages-long descriptions about each race but rather discover their particularities little by little. So I realized 2 pages after that Derkazians were not humanoid, so what? I only had to pause one second and think it through when, you know, they

    . This is WAY less annoying and boring than regular fantasy novels that think I somehow want to read a textbook. Spoiler alert : I never do.

    Ah,

    Sure, she made several mistakes, but I actually really enjoyed her growth - yes, she's been sheltered all her life and has some listening and growing to do, but who wouldn't? She does improve her behavior throughout the story. I don't ask characters to be perfect from the get go. No. They would be boring. I ask them to evolve, and Rhee did. On that note,

    Give the girl a break already.

    - remember when I said Rhee's arc would evolve? That's why it changed. But the truth is, the guy broke my heart.

    When racist people are calling him a savage, a

    because of his color of skin and his status of refugee.

    When he's been framed for a murder he did not commit because his fellows are supposed to be these angry, violent people according to the leader's racist narrative.

    When he's trying to explain to his - white - best-friend how different their situations are and how he has to master his facial expressions, emotions and expressions for people to not be afraid of him or attack him. His best friend who cannot get it, because contrary to Aly,

    - if this is not white privilege in motion, then what is it?

    When he mentioned how people kept comparing his skin to some tasty food, too.

    This is what makes

    a great book when others were crap :

    Many YA novels rely on the former.

    Now that I closed the book, though, I can confess you something :

    There

    a little bit of a romance, but I didn't care for it. Nothing important enough to lessen my enjoyment, though, because it happened way far in the story.

    I haven't seen a lot of reviews mentioning him, so perhaps I'm just that weird to care about him but I DO. I'll let you discover him, though, because everything I could say could be considered as a spoiler. But, please,

    give us more of him. The guy has so much potential!

    Every chapter ended on a cliff and I couldn't stop reading for one second. I actually

    to and I

    . Out loud. It was that good. However, I did get a little annoyed at the way some events were played out - as in, off-page. Indeed

    after being let hanging there to discover two chapters after that the situation had ended without me. Ugh, no. Please don't do that. I have trust issues.

    Finally : THERE IS A CUTE DROID OKAY (I actually wrote that while reading, lol).

    Because even if I guessed most of the reveals, it didn't reduce my enjoyment. I'll eagerly wait for the sequel now.

    Micro-aggressions to look out for - the word "crazy" is used a lot.

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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    Mar 17, 2017

    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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