by Rhoda Belleza
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Rhoda Belleza’s debut novel, EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES, follows Rhee, the last in line for the Ta’an throne, as she sets out to avenge her family -- who died in a “mysterious accident” years prior -- meanwhile, Aly, a reality star from war-ravished lineage, must survive after being blamed for Rhee’s “assassination.”
Yes, this is a Sci-Fi Novel, and while I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the genre, EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES definitely avoided the tropes that typically push me away from The Final Frontier. The world Belleza sets up is clearly defined, and allows her to explore themes of cultural and racial tension, without being unpleasantly overt. Rather than getting lost in names that sound like meaningless keyboard-smashes, I was able to understand the differences that came with being a Kalusian or a Fontisian, and the implications behind it. I’d mark EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES as a book that, regardless of genre-bias, I could recommend to anyone. You want a book dealing with racial tensions? Yep. You want a 16-year-old warrior-princess? Yep. You want a book with actually foreshadowed plot twists??? Yep!
If you’re in a reading-slump, I’d definitely suggest picking up Empress of a Thousand Skies. It’s fast-paced, fun to read, and sure to entertain!