The Empress by S.J. KincaidThe Diabolic #2
Published on October 31, 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.
But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.
Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?
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You know when you get SO excited for a book, your expectations are SO high. . . and then reality sets in and crushes everything you expected. The Diabolic was easily one of my top 5 favorite reads of 2016 and when I learned it was getting a sequel I completely freaked out. I needed the next book. I got the next book.
Overall, The Empress was disappointing. I think a part of it is definitely because I had some pretty high expectation. It took me a while to really get into the story and then stay hooked. I devoured book one in a single sitting. This one? I put it aside several times in favor of something else. It finally started picking up about halfway through but until then, I was kind of bored. There’s more of the romance introduced in the previous book, more politics and intrigue, both things which I usually really enjoy. But I honestly don’t know what happened with The Empress because it just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t really shipping Nemesis and Tyrus anymore (weird, I know) and I wasn’t caught up in the intrigue and scheming I usually fall for.
Yet the other aspects of the book were really well done. Nemesis is a character I can’t help but love. She’s strong and manages to be this Diabolic who is programmed to be a body guard, someone honed as a living weapon. At the same time she has to be soft, she’s learning to love which was previously a foreign emotion. I loved seeing her progress to seeing herself as more than just a Diabolic.
Once the story picked up, it was like WHAM plot twist! WHAM action! There was SO MUCH going on but at the same time I was a bit lost at times in the shuffle. I think I left a bit too much time between reading The Diabolic and The Empress because one leads right into the next and I wouldn’t say there’s all that much review like some books do. I had definitely forgotten a few things — events from the last book, character relationships, etc. — which made falling back into the world a bit tougher but that’s not necessarily the fault of the book.
Honestly, this isn’t a bad book. Kincaid creates a beautifully complex plot with her fabulous characters I can’t get enough of. My only real issue with The Empress comes down to the pacing at the beginning and too high of expectations after The Diabolic. No, I don’t think this book was as good as the first one but it’s decent and I’m definitely interested to see what happens next!