Book Club: The Empress

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Author: S.J. Kincaid
ISBN: 978-1-4711-6918-2
RRP: $19.99
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

I read The Diabolic thinking it was a stand alone, then discovered it was set to begin a trilogy. Finally the 2nd book is in my hot little hands and I was excited to immerse myself back in the world created by Kincaid.

The Empress is one of our book club reads, that I didn’t quite get finished in October, and so it was picked up by a selection of our readers who had not read The Diabolic. I think it will hold up as a stand alone because there is a self contained story but I am enjoying watching the evolution of our heroine Nemesis.

Kincaid returns to the dystopian future of our race, now living largely in space, as a new Emperor is crowned and plans to make some big changes. His plans to wed a diabolic and make her his Empress do not go down well, Nemesis is a humanoid creature but she is not recognised as a person and she is never going to be recognised as an Empress.

The Empress takes us deeper into the world created by Kincaid and we are given some important history lessons that go a long way to explaining how this all came to be. I loved the history element; learning why people now live in space and what happened to old Earth.

Nemesis is an impressive character who I just grew to love even more. She is a Diabolic, created for strength and stealth with a total lack of emotions yet she is the one who sees the inherent wrongness in creating living beings for sport or servitude. It seems that being human doesn’t necessarily breed humanity; and though Nemesis can be granted personhood it is always going to be touch and go whether that will be respected, though it has to be recognised.

Tyrus has spent his life playing a part to stay alive until the time he became Emperor and now that the day has come it seems the fight is far from over and fortunately he has chosen to share his life with Nemesis, the perfect candidate to help keep him safe. The two make a formidable pair but even they end up overestimating their abilities and end up separated.

The pacing in The Empress was pretty full on, though the story spans years there is always something happening; usually something underhanded and nefarious. The more Nemesis seems to find emotion and humanity the more inhumane those around her begin to act. The Empress is quite a study in human behaviour and the insidious erosion of morality by power.

I enjoyed this read, the characters are well developed and I found the world building to be well thought out. The progression of Nemesis’s character in The Empress was interesting to follow. She has always been told there is no divine spark within her because she was created instead of born, and her DNA contains traces of many different species but her humanity seemed much more developed than some of the rich and powerful humans she shared a society with. She fought hard to move away from her nature as a killing machine, even though that seemed like the easiest way to protect Tyrus and at times we are all left questioning the cost.

Friendships and true loyalty are very hard to come by in a world of alliances and payoffs so it is interesting to watch the relationships between characters unfold. Tyrus is the love of her life and Nemesis has always been told she is not capable of love. Tyrus has spent his entire life unable to trust anyone but Nemesis seems to be the exception. How will it all play out? Will it all unravel?

Tyrus and Nemesis have affected a great change in the Empire, though not as they expected, and I am looking forward to seeing what they face in the final book of the trilogy. I hope we don’t have too long to wait.

An intense and violent ride through an inter-galactic future that is sure to captivate and entertain.

S.J. Kincaid can be found on her Website and Facebook.

The Empress is published by Simon & Schuster and is available through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster a selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Empress so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “Book Club: The Empress

  1. The Empress is a dystopian YA book which is one of the genres I feel has really become very popular in recent years. This book is apparently the second in a trilogy by S.J.Kincaid so I will need to go back and read the first tale in this story.
    The main character in this story is Nemesis who is a diabolic which is seen as a humanoid creature but not as a real human being. She ends up marrying the new Emperor Tyrus which is a not what the kingdom wants because of her diabolic status. They do make a great pair though and ending up falling in love despite the fact that Nemesis is programmed not to have emotions. This book really explores the reasons why humans now live in space and the true meaning of humanity which can come from creatures that aren’t even human.
    It is a great story for anyone who loves a dystopian story and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the last book in the trilogy.
    Thanks to Simon and Schuster and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  2. The Empress is a book that you really need to be left alone to read. At times my life gets a little hectic so I tend to read a few pages here and there at times rather then being able to sit down and read 50 pages or more in one shot but The Empress is not a book that you can do that with. I found that if I sat down and read a couple of pages and then received a phone call or there was a knock at the door then once I got back to my book I would have totally lost what I had just read and would need to reread pages. This happened often which was frustrating and I found it took me a lot longer then it should have to actually get through the book.
    The Empress in parts is heavy going with a lot of Sci-fi type violence with an undercurrent of a love affair between two characters who both have their own baggage to deal with. There is so much action and so many twists and turns with this book that you really need to pay attention. The ending certainly leaves you knowing that there is more to come.
    If you choose to buy this book then grab the book, a drink and some nibbles and lock yourself away from everyone and just get reading.

  3. The Empress is a great book to read, once you get into it. Given that it is the second book in the series it takes a little to get up to speed with the characters, the relationships and the politics involved however once you are up to date, things fall into place really well.

    The plot line is excellent with a really creative way of limiting the power of the Emperor (which I enjoyed) and added another level of politics unbeknownst to most of their society. I loved the twists and turns, the power hungry verses the inherited position and the trials and tribulations of an unsanctioned love in a public couple.

    This is a great book to keep you on your toes, second guessing what you thought to be the ‘right way’ and the complexities of the characters. A very enjoyable read.

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