Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday #Review - Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Empress of a Thousand Skies # 2
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Epic Fantasy


With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.


Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.


Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.


Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy. 

Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.

Blood of a Thousand Skies is conclusion to the Empress of a Thousand Skies duology. Story picks up right where the first installment left off. The story features four distinctive characters: Kara, Aly, Rhiannon, and Nero. As the story opens, Princess Josselyn Ta'an, who was thought to be dead, is actually alive and living under the name Kara. Since the sister she doesn't remember announced that Josselyn was in fact alive, she's been on the run and hiding from those searching for her with Alyosha Myraz (Aly) former Uniforce soldier who was accused of trying to kill Princess Rhiannon.

She has no desire to become Empress. She wants to remove any memories of her former self. Fact is, Kara's memories are all but non-existent before the age of 12 thanks to her "mother" Lydia. She has no memories of her younger sister, or what happened to her parents. Not like Rhee does. But, after Kara triggers a wooden cylinder with a secret inside, it sends her on a wild journey across the universe searching for something called the overwriter. Kara has to make the choice of finding the overwriter and permanently removing her Josselyn memories and letting Rhee take all the responsibilities, or actually stepping up and taking her true role of Empress. 

Meanwhile, Rhee is caught between an executioner and his guillotine. Nero has her right where she doesn't want to be. She has stepped up and accepted her role as Empress even though she now knows that her older sister is alive. Alongside her temporarily is Dahlen who is pretty much her own ally but is also off on another adventure for most of the story. She can't trust Nero. She can't trust her own Tasinn Royal Guard to keep her safe, and her mantra of Honor, Bravery, and Loyalty hasn't stopped the ant-Rhee sentiment that rapidly spreads. 

I'm just going to say this. I have huge issues with the way the author treated Rhee in the end. Was she the perfect character? No, but at least she was trying to do the right thing for her people who were being used like pawn pieces on a much larger game board. She put up with so much crap for the past 6 years since her parents died, that she should have been given a little bit more respect by those like Kara. Kara walks on water and tried to walk away from her responsibilities while Rhee was shoved to the side for whatever reason. Plus, Rhee has nothing but heartache and bloodshed that follows her wherever she goes. 

Nero is a blood genius and a megalomaniac. He is so far ahead of anyone in this book, that it makes Rhee and Kara look like children playing an adult game of life or death. Nero twists the rules when it suits him. He is the puppet master making Rhee dance to his tune. He outwits & outmaneuvers everyone in the rush to find the overwriter which will give him ultimate powers over everyone. He is also a compulsive liar and a sociopath. After learning that Josselyn is alive, he brilliantly isolates Rhee as well as any of her allies. The question is, who will be the one to step up and defeat Nero?    

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