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.


18 thoughts on “Book Club: The Empress

  1. The Empress is the second book in the Diabolic series however you could probably read “The Empress” on its own and still be in for a really good read. But if you truly want to understand and care about the characters reading “The Diabolic” first is my recommendation.

    Tyrus is now Emperor and with Nemesis by his side they plan to bring back science and knowledge. There are many that oppose the young Emperor and especially the idea of a diabolic becoming the next Empress. There are many attempts on their lives and Nemesis starts to take matters into her own hands to rid Tyrus of his enemies.

    Tyrus strives for a voluntary union throughout the Empire which has been ruled by fear for generations. Alectar van Pasus, his biggest objector, believes that Tyrus is being idealistic.

    ”If you give the people knowledge they will want more and then use that knowledge against you.” – Pasus

    ”Remove the reason for them to turn those weapons on us, and it will not happen.” – Tyrus

    ”They will turn those weapons upon us because they hate us, and they always have. Their descendants will hate our descendants, as their ancestors hated our ancestors.” – Pasus
    Is Tyrus idealistic or visionary? Is Pasus a realist or a pessimist?

    This book gives more of an overview of the universe they preside over and more of the politics. There is much death, destruction and cruelty. At times it feels like all hope is lost and then there are the twists and turns. No-one can be trusted! Nemesis’ character continues to evolve and her love for Tyrus never waivers.

    Kincaid doesn’t balk at making her heroes submissive or evil, even turning on each other with venom thus sending the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as you follow Nemesis from despair to euphoria then plunged back into despair and when you think you can’t get any lower…..that ending!!!
    This book made my heart race, made me happy and made me angry…… a lot. Life doesn’t always go smoothly; we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes evil prevails.
    Bring on book three!!!!!!

  2. I couldn’t get into the book and didn’t like the way it was written. I am afraid this one isn’t for me.I couldn’t get to the end of the book.

  3. The Empress
    SJ Kincaid
    Simon & Schuster
    A book to make you think, great to read with some one and discuss. 3/5
    I really enjoyed the start of this book, quickly catching up on what I had clearly missed in the first book. The action kept me turning the pages, wanting to know the answer, what was going to happen? As I tried to keep up the names and places, I think I had that okay but in some bits I felt like I had missed something, but I think it was just where chunks of time passed suddenly. The ending is certainly not one I guessed and I can see how that leads and hooks you to the final part of the trilogy, very clever. Really interesting and good to discuss with others as it seems that the social and religious themes, well thought out. Something really different and I would recommend it for that reason.

  4. I loved this book!
    I thought it was very well written. One of those great YA books that can be enjoyed by adults too. S. J. Kincaid does a great job of creating a world for her characters, and the characters are well developed.

    Set in a dystopian future, where mankind now lives in space. The central character is Nemesis, a Diabolic (a genetically engineered bodyguard). She is such a wonderful protagonist, and it is very rewarding to watch her grow.

    This is a fast paced, rollercoaster of a read, full of plot twists and turns, that is simultaneously gripping and harrowing (although there is a lot of politics and religion which may put off some readers.)
    Part of me wishes I had read the first book (this is the second in a trilogy) before I read this one, as although you get the gist of what happened it would have given it a bit more context (plus I suspect I would have really enjoyed it too, oh well, I will just have to go back and read it now), and I am definitely looking forward to the third book (especially after the cliff hanger ending).

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Empress, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

  5. I wish I had read the first book before starting The Empress, but it didn’t take long to imerse myself in the story. I found it tricky to read sometimes and had to slow down and/or re-read parts which meant it took longer to get through than I would have liked, but I am glad I did this as it meant I could enjoy it more.
    Just when you think you have things figured out S.J.Kincaid throws in something that we couldn’t have seen coming and we are led along a different path than expected! This happened several times and I know that on occasion I actually gasped with surprise! Especially with the outcome of Nemesis and Tyrus!
    Am really looking forward to the next book and am hoping to go backwards ow and read the first one too!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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