Author: Rebecca Coffindaffer
Pub. Date: September 29, 2020
Genre: YA LGBT SFF
A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this duology opener.
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible and omfg why did I wait so long?
I won an ARC of this months ago and had started reading it. But at the time, I had a lot going on in my life, I was busy and exhausted constantly and just never got around to reading it. Fast forward a couple of months – well, like 7-8 months – and a handful of trusted individuals were screaming about this book on Twitter. So, needing a new audiobook to listen to, I downloaded it and dove in.
This book was fantastic.
Exactly what I want in an SF book.
It was brilliant and the ending had me on the edge of my seat, feeling everything Alyssa was feeling.
And Alyssa – omfg.
Can we just take a minute to appreciate what a fantastic and realistic character she is? I don’t know if have the right words to express just how much I loved her. I think about her, her journey, and just her characterization and I get giddy warm fuzzies. She’s badass, a free spirit, wants to roam and do whatever. The stars and the far reaches of the galaxies call to her. She’s loyal as fuck, strong and caring. She feels everything with her entire being – even when she’s not trying to feel anything at all. She doesn’t try to fit the mold people force her into – instead, she does whatever she wants, and people either have to get on board, or get out of her way.
She’s brilliant, and if I ever write a character half as good as she is, I’ll have won.
Then there’s Hell Monkey, and when I say I was absolutely sold from the first minute he’s on the page, I wouldn’t be lying. His partnership, friendship, relationship with Alyssa is so good. He’s got his own troubled past, his own demons he has to face, but he’s with her 100% – hell or high water. No adventure is too much. And he cares so deeply. He’s the kind of person you want in your corner. There for you, but also willing to be straight with you, honest. But he’s also kind and caring and the way he is with Alyssa, the information he trusts her to keep…be still my heart.
The two of them together are perfection. And the progression of their relationship feels like the most natural thing in the world. It’s so wonderfully done – I applaud.
As for the plot – it kind of lowkey reminded me of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooners Unearthed in terms of feeling. But it also kind of gave me a little bit of a Farscape vibe. Y’all I’m starved for space SF and this book delivered – hands down. It’s a race across the galaxy to find the royal seal and crown the next ruler. It’s legit everything I want in an SF book. Planets, new species and lifeforms, traversing galaxies, space battles, rogue elements, betrayal, maverick flying and heartbreak.
I don’t know if I’m hyping this up enough, but I honestly don’t know if I can express just how much I loved it. I just want to throw this book at you and say “Read It Now”.
If you’re a fan of Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner’s SF books, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff’s SF books, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Farscape or are just in the mood for a fantastic “set in space” space SF, then this is 100% the book for you. It has everything. It’s brilliantly written, you get sucked in immediately. You fall in love with the characters, the world, the backstory and the outcome. The emotional rollercoaster we get to go on with Alyssa is so good.
I loved this book so much, and the wait for the second one is already killing me. Thank God it comes out this year, and the wait isn’t forever. I’m strongly recommending checking this book out, moving it up your TBRs, adding it on GR if you haven’t yet – it’s one you really don’t want to miss.
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