Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 2

This was a book I had walked past in the library for weeks, but had never picked up. I had high hopes, though – the cover was beautiful, and the blurb seemed interesting (although it was a little like every other YA novel out there). But now that I’ve read it, I don’t think I feel anything but underwhelmed.

The book is written from two perspectives.
Rhiannon, or Rhee, is the last living member of her royal family. Her parents and sister were killed years ago, and Rhee is out for revenge; what she learns, however, is that half of the galaxy wants her dead.
Alyosha is a Wraetan and is looked down upon, but he is also the star of a DroneVision show. But being a star doesn’t mean he is free from the prejudices.
When Rhee is attacked and incorrectly presumed dead, Aly becomes the scapegoat for her supposed murder. But there’s more to the story. There’s always more to the story.

First of all, the blurb is very misleading. Rhee and Aly are never really “together”. They have their stories at the same time, but the most their plotlines intertwine is one scene where they make eye contact. I kept waiting for them to meet each other, but it never happened.

Several reviews have mentioned that this book was boring, and I really just have to agree. It began well, and I was interested in the premise and the history, but then Aly and Rhee began their individual journeys, and the story just became very messy. I still had a basic idea of what was going on, but it wasn’t quite cohesive enough.

The characters were hard for me to relate to. I felt like I just didn’t quite care for either one, and at the same time, so many secondary characters were introduced that it was hard to keep up and hard to associate them to the correct main character when there was so little screentime and personality.

The one character I honestly loved was introduced at the beginning: Rhee’s best friend Julian. But he appears only for a few pages, and I realized I spent the rest of the book wanting to know more about him. (He does appear in some memories and flashbacks, but it’s just not the same.)

The writing style was okay. Nothing really stood out to me, which I think definitely contributed to my disinterest. The world-building had a lot of potential, but I feel as though the writing style made it difficult for me to understand just exactly what everything was, considering how many technical terms there were.

Overall, I wouldn’t say that this was a good read, and I don’t think I’d really recommend it to anyone. It does seem to be geared towards a YA audience, but it didn’t work well for me, and I don’t even think I care enough to read the second book.

View all my reviews


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