Thursday, February 1, 2018

Empress of a Thousand Skies Review and Blog Tour

Today, I’m super excited to be a part of the Empress of a Thousand Skies & Blood of a Thousand Stars Blog Tour! Empress released last year, and Blood of a Thousand Stars is releasing this year. To encourage you all to pick up your copies, I thought I’d share my review of Empress of a Thousand Skies.

Empress of a Thousand Skies
(Empress of a Thousand Skies #1)
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Hardcover, 314 pages, Razorbill
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

A sweeping sci-fi fantasy adventure that follows two fugitives -- a princess-in-exile and her accused killer -- across the galaxy as they fight to reclaim her family dynasty and save the universe from a deadly threat.

     Crown Princess Rhiannon, known as Rhee, has deadly accuracy with a blade and a thirst for vengeance. After her family perished in a suspicious spacecraft accident when she was just a child, Rhee grew up in exile while a corrupt government ruled in her stead. Now, Rhee has finally come of age to claim her title as Empress... and to avenge her family.

     But on the eve of her coronation, Rhee is brutally attacked by a government assassin and only narrowly escapes with her life. Without knowing who she can trust, Rhee goes into hiding, relying only on her sharp instincts and her trusty blade to survive.

     Across the galaxy, pilot Alyosha has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the popular star of a reality holo-vision show. But when Aly is framed for the attack on Rhee, he goes from celebrity to fugitive in an instant. On the run from the formidable UniForce army, Aly knows that his only hope is to find the princess and clear his name.

     Thrown together by an act of violence, Rhee and Aly eventually discover the attack is just one part of a larger plan with devastating, far-reaching consequences for the entire galaxy.

My Thoughts

Princesses in space? Check. Advanced technology? Check. Spaceship chases? Check. And a sassy droid? Check. This YA book has all the makings of a fun, action-packed sci-fi read.

Princess Rhiannon has known since her family died that she would take the thrown, but she just wants to avenge her parents and sister. Not rule an entire galaxy. Apparently, others think the same since someone just tried to murder her before her coronation. And Alyosha wants to be free to live his own life, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time forces him to go on the run from the galaxy’s UniForce.

In the book, the two main characters, Rhiannon and Alyosha, or Rhee and Aly, share their respective journeys across the galaxy in each of their POVs. While Rhee is trying to figure out who is attempting to end her life, Aly is trying to figure out why he’s being set up for a crime he didn’t commit.

Sometimes Rhee and Aly aren’t always the most flushed-out characters, yet their voices do resonate as you’re reading. Rhee is the girl reluctant to take charge, and Aly is the boy who everyone blames simply because he exists. I think their stories are very poignant when it comes to today’s society. At times, though, I did find myself gravitating more towards Aly’s story. I think this was because of his partners in crime. I mean, he had a droid following him around! Doesn’t every space hero need an awesome droid?!

As for the plot of the story, it was definitely quick-paced. Rhee’s chapters were often longer than Aly’s, but both always ended on cliffhangers. This made reading the story super frustrating, but, at the same time, super fast. I just wanted to know what was going to happen next! At a couple points, the cliffhanger situation did bum me out a little bit, simply because there were such big scenes happening, but when the next chapter from the character’s POV started, it would pick up too far in the future and the whole ordeal would only be mentioned in passing later on. Thankfully, those odd cliffhanger scenarios only happened once or twice.

Now, I’ve got to talk about the worldbuilding. It was good. I enjoyed reading a YA science fiction story that had other creatures in it, not just humans! It was kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy in that way. There were fuzzy creatures, pointy-eared creatures, and more! But, I wish more time had been spent developing all the species, technology, planets, and religions. It’s such a cool concept that I think it could have been explored as much as possible. But who knows? Maybe that worldbuilding happens in book two?

All in all, I’d recommend Empress of a Thousand Skies to any YA SFF lover. Especially fans of Melissa Landers, Marissa Meyer, and/or Mindee Arnett.

The Author

Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing X-Files fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. She's a children's editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed with far too many bikes and far too many shoes. When she's not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.

The Tour


1/29 – Ageless Pages Review – Review
1/30 – The Bookish King – Review
1/31 – Elizabethandherbooks – Review
2/1 – Shell’s Stories – Review

2/5 – Haunted by Books 13 – Review
2/6 – Bookling Critics – Review
2/7 – How Useful It Is – Review
2/8 – Sweet Things – Q&A


2/12 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Q&A
2/13 – Pages Within Me – Review + Creative
2/14 – Celesha’s Love for Books – Review
2/15 – Ex Libris – Review
2/16 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Quote Teasers

2/19 – Hollywood News Source – Playlist
2/20 – The Fandom – Moodboard
2/21 – BookishStateofMind – Creative imagery with a review

Make sure to check out the other tour stops!

*Note: I received a finished copy of Empress and an ARC of Blood of a Thousand Stars for review from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion/review.


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