​Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Goodreads Synopsis:


The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.


Favorite Exerpts:

Page 117

Starbursts continued behind her eyes. Pain sang through her veins. She should not have survived. Twice, she should not have survived. But she had.


My Review:

I’m reading this one with the Diversely Booked Book Club this month. If you’d like to join us or just get some more information, go check out Katie’s post (after reading this one, of course) and give her a follow because she’s lovely.

I only really spotted one thing that would need a content warning in Empress of a Thousand Skies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t more. Let’s get it out of the way.

  • Racism (addressed on the page)

The characters were developed enough that I was able to mentally interact with them without any trouble whatsoever. I feel like I’ve gotten to know them a little bit, but I could probably know them better. I am very impressed with how Rhee’s character arc was done because she shows a lot of growth through the story.

I feel like we got to know a little bit about Aly, the other point-of-view character, but I don’t think his character grew anywhere near as much as Rhee’s did. I feel like there’s still a lot about him I don’t know, though I do find myself being able to relate to him a bit.

The secondary characters were all beautifully developed in a way that is just enough to make them real without their details overpowering those of the main characters. I feel like I could interact with some of them without knowing much more about them than their mannerisms, which I would expect from any stranger or acquaintance I’m interacting with.

The world is developed enough that most of the time I was able to put myself into it, but there were times when it was slightly less immersive. I often found myself wanting for more details of the surroundings and, without them, my brain tended to fill in with basic settings like deserts and unstable mountains. The details were enough to move the story forward but not enough for a thoroughly immersive experience.

This is one of my first space operas. [wiggles with excitement] The story started off a bit slow, giving background and setting up the plot. There was definitely enough going on to keep me interested, but the story really picked up around page….I want to say 80? I didn’t mark it because I also did not put the book down from that point on. I loved the use of alternating point-of-views to clarify more than just the two stories. I loved every plot twist and turn and while some of them were blatantly obvious to me, others were shocking. I really enjoyed reading from beginning to end and I need book two stat!! I can not wait for the book club’s Twitter discussion on 30 April (next Sunday)!

Overall, I rate Empress of a Thousand Skies 4 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of Empress of a Thousand Skies and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:

For more information about Rhoda Belleza and her work, visit her Goodreads page.


2 thoughts on “​Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

  1. Hi Kitty! I’m so glad you enjoyed Empress of a Thousand Skies! I read it last month and thought it was such a great book. I feel like there’s a big gap in diverse SFF, especially space operas, so it hit all the right spots. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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