The Empress by S.J. Kincaid
Summary from NetGalley:
It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.
But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.
Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.
I can’t decide if I like this cover or not. It is interesting, but I’m not sure it would make me pick this book up if I didn’t already know something about it. I just loved the cover for The Diabolic, that metal butterfly just made me want to know more about it. But this cover does very much match the story inside as both Tyrus and Nemesis break through their bonds and transform into something new.
If you were put off by all of the violence in the first book, don’t read this one. There is way more violence, mostly on a vast scale. There is not as much killing by Nemesis on a personal level, but a lot of people die in some pretty horrific ways. Some of these deaths were quite unexpected and many times I found myself stunned by the darkness of this book. There are a lot of twists and turns especially after the half way mark. I am usually good at predicting plots, but this book totally threw me out of the water in it’s lack of predictability. I was very much afraid that everyone was going to die by the end, but there is a sequel, so just enough characters survive to keep the story going.
Both Tyrus and Nemesis go through huge changes in their characters. Nemesis learns some self restraint and that the answer to many of their problems is not to kill everyone. She definitely becomes more human in her thoughts and feelings. Tyrus probably goes through the most change and not for the better. I still love Tyrus though, even with how he was at the end of the book, and I hope things get better for him in the next book, but I really fear that he is doomed. Their love for each other goes through many dark moments and even gets to the breaking point by the end. It may or may not recover, but I’m trying to remain hopeful.
The first half of this book was not as violent or dark as the rest of it. We find out a lot more about how this world came to be and why all of the sciences have been banned. As this was one of the issues I had with the first book it was nice to finally get an explanation. There is also some science plot twists that have to do with black holes and the theory of relativity, which made the story that much more interesting. The basis of the religion in this world was also better explained and why creatures like Nemesis are so hated and not considered humans.
Even though this book is darker and more violent, and I am not happy with Tyrus’s storyline, it is still a good solid science fiction read that is very hard to put down. If you like the first book this second one will not disappoint.