Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis, Book 1
by Anna Banks
Feiwel & Friends
YA Fantasy
359 pages

OCTOBER 4th, 2017!!!

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But Mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?


Mistrust and secrets hang in the background of a vibrant fantasy, making love and trust a difficult, if not impossible, task.

Princess Sepora is fleeing her kingdom in hopes of finding a way to stop her father's power hungry plans, which will launch their world into war. Captured by thieves, she's sold on the neighboring kingdom's market and forced to join the newly crowned Tarik's harem. Determined to break free from her fate, she's brought in front of Tarik, who, mesmerized by her beauty and attitude, makes her the assistant to his head adviser. But Sepora doesn't trust any of it and soon finds herself weaving between truths, allegiances, doubt and an attempt to save everyone.

The first pages demand immediate attention as Sepora rides her fly serpent in an attempt to run away from her father, the King. Her desperation hits full force and the situation draws in from that very first page. Her trek through the desert and delivery to the market leave no doubt about the hardships she's facing and call for empathy. It's a vivid world, packed full of fantasy without coming across to foreign. The characters come across very naturally and are easy to get lost in, each and every one. At first.

This book is written in two POVS: Sepora's and Tarik's. The two sides let the intrigue and problems unfold in a compelling way and make it clear how difficult the situation not only between the two character is, but also for their world. The chapters switch between the two, making it easy to follow. But Sepora is written in first person, while Tarik is in third. This made for a jerk every time Tarik's turn came and caused a pause at the beginning of every single one of his chapters to re-orientate to the narrative.

There's never a lull or boring moment as the tension and intrigue increases with every turn, and the characters weave between the situations with moments to cheer for. Sepora is full of self-confidence and takes matters into her own hand. She's mistrusting, which is understandable, and sticks to her goals. At times, her actions aren't well thought out, but this isn't surprising considering her background. Her stubbornness and inability to see past some things, on the other hand, made her hard to like. She's simply lacking a little needed warmth. Tarik is a more than able king. Sometimes, his wisdom was too advanced for his experience and age but his character was likable. He makes solid decisions, has noble intentions and does the really the best he can with the situations and information he faces. His special 'ability' adds a wonderful and needed twist to the story.

This is the first novel in a series, and the problems Sepora faces are only starting. There is intrigue, many kingdoms to balance out and many more difficulties to come before things are worked out. But it wasn't enough. The relationship between Tarik and Sepora, as well as Sepora's mistrust, takes center stage and dominates the plot. It could have been so much richer. The intrigue is there but skims over depth, and several characters are missing more meaning and purpose. Much of this is probably still to come but it was missed in this first installment.

But this was an engaging read. It was entertaining, grabbed until the last page and promises an interesting tale. The world is a treat, and there is so much still unexplored which hints at an exciting series. Young adult fans of fantasy with hard-won romance and a love for princesses striving to save the world are sure to enjoy this one.

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