A review by becandbooks
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza


Trigger warnings:
SpoilerAbleist language, racism & racial slurs, internment camps (mentioned), strangulation, blood depiction, medical experimentation, needles, consensual & non-consensual drugging, death of a mother/father/sister (recounted, death of a mother (on-page), death of a friend), explosion (recounted & on-page), murder & attempted murder, knife violence, police brutality & violence, torture, mind control (discussed), imprisonment, poisoning

This is a book I had seen with a lot of mixed reviews and yet with the beautiful cover and my re-found love of YA sci-fi I wanted to give it a shot. And honestly, I enjoyed it.

Overall it was a good read. I enjoyed the world-building - the different planets and species, the politics and war background, and in particular, the use of technology and how it intertwined with the plot line. Sure, it could have been more fleshed out but I felt it was a good balance between detail that didn't feel heavy but gave the book some atmosphere and spacey vibes.

I enjoyed the characters, although they weren't really here nor there. I did fall in love with Kara late in the story and wished there had been more of her in the first half - which primarily focused on Rhee and her side of the story.

I'll be blunt - I was a little underwhelmed but that may be due to picking this up as an audiobook. While the narration was enjoyable, this is the type of story that I would love to fall into with more focus than I typically dedicate to an audio story. And so, while I am interested in continuing the series, I think I want to pick up a physical copy of this book to reread before I continue. And maybe that reread will give it that little extra something that I was searching for in the audio.

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Happy reading! ❤