Book Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

empressofthousandskiesEmpress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Published by Razorbill on February 7, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 320 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Rhee, 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.

Aly 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.

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.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

With a galaxy full of thriving planets and moons, political power plays at every turn, and two teens fighting to stay alive despite threats from all sides, Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza has everything a science fiction fan could ask for. Action packed from start to finish, the hype for this one was high but it’s definitely worth a read to discover Rhee and Aly’s story.

Fueled by vengeance, Rhiannon’s focus blinds her to the real politics playing out around her. Even when assassins and fanatics come for her, she struggles to realize the truth. Aly on the other hand knows the true nature of people. He’s tried his hardest to be above it all but still manages to get pulled into the chaos. These two have very separate journeys yet are connected by all the pieces at play.

Belleza drops the reader into a new universe full of eclectic planets teeming with dozens of alien races with little explanation but it actually works. The worldbuilding is fantastic and thankfully there were no huge info dumps. The delicate balance between Kalu, Fontis, Wraeta and the rest of the planets within the quadrants comes into focus early on and the political scheming was well maneuvered. I found it easy to imagine it all playing out and it gave me some serious Guardians of the Galaxy vibes.

I found the technology in this one riveting and slightly scary at the same time. It provided interesting commentary for how recording everything changes how to live in the moment and how memories reflect an individual. There’s also a pretty large focus on prejudice and immigrants but I’d suggest reading reviews from diverse bloggers for how it was handled. The only real issues I had with this story were the predictability and glazing over of some scenes.

Overall I really enjoyed Rhoda Belleza’s Empress of a Thousand Skies. This debut was full to the brim with excitement and contains plenty of twists and turns. Rhiannon and Aly are equally thrilling to watch as each threat comes at them and I loved discovering these diverse worlds that were being pushed to brink of war. I’d definitely recommend this one especially to those SciFi lovers out there.

So have you heard a lot about Empress of a Thousand Skies? What are some of your favorite space adventures? Are you a fan of survival stories? Let me know in the comments below!


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