Title: The Empress
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Series: The Diabolic, #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date: November 2nd 2017
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?
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Alongside Nemesis Tyrus has managed to overthrow his uncle and gain control of the Empire, however their problems are far from over. The Grandiloquy don’t want a Diabolic as their Empress, and the faith are refusing to acknowledge Nemesis as a human and Tyrus as the Emperor. When the importance of gaining the approval of the Vicar Primus becomes impossible to ignore Nemesis and Tyrus plan to go to the highest power there is to make their case.
There is a lot of political intrigue at play in The Empress. While the story itself was still brutal, action packed and fast paced, the same way The Diabolic was, there were a lot more underhand games being played that Nemesis struggled to keep on top of. The main aspect to the story I enjoyed was how it created questions where before there were just facts and beliefs; where The Diabolic set up the world, introduced the Grandiloquy and the faith, The Empress challenged the status quo.
Tyrus and Nemesis’s ‘disappearance’ from the Empire leaves power in the hands of Senator Pasus, who has his own personal reasons for wanting to see the young Emperor put in his place, and puts Tyrus in a new kind of danger neither he nor Nemesis are prepared to deal with. If she wants to save Tyrus and the Empire Nemesis needs to go against all her instincts and fight a battle she may not win against the Grandiloquy and Pasus.
One of the issues I had with a The Diabolic was that, while it could have been a good standalone, it felt like a lot of the plot was crammed in at the end and the conclusion was rushed. In some ways The Empress was the same; there was so much happening at the end that it was almost too fast paced. That said I was hooked, I have no idea where Kincaid is going to go in the last book, literally no clue, but I can’t wait to find out.
Nemesis is still trying to work out where she fits in a world without Donia; she’s not recognised as a human by the faith but she no longer fully seems to be a Diabolic either. Still her instincts always seem to fall back to her Diabolic programming when dealing with threats to Tyrus, which leaves her very much out of her depth among Pasus and the Grandiloquy.
Tyrus is finally free to be himself in The Empress now he no longer has to worry about his uncle killing him if he proves to be a threat. Tyrus wants to bring back technology in a way it hasn’t been for generations, but he faces harsh opposition and in the face of the other people in power who oppose his ideas he isn’t willing to compromise.
In some ways I think Tyrus overestimate his power and self control. It made for some interesting reading in this book as he both underestimates how far his enemies are willing to go to get what they want and overestimates his own abilities.
The relationship between Tyrus and Nemesis is one of my favourite parts of this book, and at times one of the most heartbreaking aspects as well. In a world where Tyrus doesn’t know who to trust, where his every move is watched and judged, he can be himself around Nemesis, and it’s the same for Nemesis. She’s willing to do whatever it takes for Tyrus, even give up her vengeance if it ensures his safety. They have such a strong bond, which makes them a formidable couple when they work together.
One character who became an unexpected favourite of mine was Neveni. In a way I felt parts of her development paralleled Nemesis’s; she’s lost everything a person can lose and it’s driven her to seek revenge no matter the cost and no matter how short sighted it may be in the face of Nemesis’s wider plans. However there were some aspects of her development that were skipped past, which I wish we could have gotten more of an insight into.
An aspect of the world building I loved in The Diabolic was how the Helionic faith played such a large part in the Empire, putting a stop to the technological advancements you’d normally find in sci-fi books and replacing them with an almost cult-like religion. The Empress expands on that idea, and as Tyrus tries to bring technology back to the Empire a light is shone on some of the myths and legends that the Helionic faith created. It was an interesting way to blend the two sides, technology and religion. There were plenty of twists in this book when it came to the development of the world building, however there were a few I didn’t quite understand simply because of the way they were described, a little too technological for me.
There are some books that stay with you for a long time after they’re over and The Empress is one of them for me. The ending is a real game changer in so many ways and I am both incredibly excited, and incredibly terrified, for where the author takes the trilogy in the next book. While there were still a small issues I had with The Empress when it comes to the plot and the development, overall it was a brilliant read.
What did you think of The Empress? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.