Book Review: The Empress

the empressThe Empress
by S.J. Kincaid
Fantasy Space Opera
378 pages
Published 2017

The Empress is an excellent follow-up to The Diabolic; Tyrus and Nemesis have claimed the throne, but now they have to keep it. Due in part to ancient machines, that is harder than it sounds. Despite Nemesis’ cold practicality, she is also somewhat idealistic. She picks freeing the servitors (slaves, basically) as her big goal for when she becomes Empress – with shocking results.

Tyrus’ and Nemesis’ combined goal is to bring science back to the people; in the first book we were introduced to the concept of ruined space – space that had been torn apart by hyperspace jumps and now consumes everything it touches. But since the Helionic religion had banned all science, no one knew how to do anything about it other than avoid it. Their solution is to go to the head of the religion itself and talk him into reversing that decree. In doing so, we learn a lot more about why the empire is floating out in space, and why the decree was given.

It’s always hard to talk about middle books in trilogies without giving too much away about the first book, or the plot as a whole. So I’ll just say that, like the first book, this kept me guessing, and the twists of the plot came as incredibly shocking surprises. S.J. Kincaid has an amazing ability with plot twists. And the end of this book – oh man. I do not want to believe that things truly are as bad as they seem. I want this to be a redemption story. But at the same time, things have been done that can’t be undone.

If you read and liked The Diabolic, you should continue the trilogy with The Empress. However, while The Diabolic ends in a way that could leave it as a standalone, The Empress ends on a clear cliffhanger. The third book has neither a title nor a cover yet, but is supposed to release this fall? I’m guessing that will be delayed, which is bad, because I NEED IT.

From the cover of The Empress:

An Empress is GRACEFUL.

An Empress is a PARTNER.

But most important, an Empress is HUMAN.

It’s a new day in the Empire. With Tyrus on the throne and Nemesis at his side, they can find a new way forward – one without hiding or scheming or bloodshed. They can form a galaxy where science and information is shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. There are those who have no intention of letting this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who’s considered a mere killing machine, rule without a fight.

In order to protect Tyrus, Nemesis must prove her humanity to the Empire. But if this means she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning?

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