The Quick Review:
Space-Adventure fans- get ready for you new favorite series!
Empress Fallen is a strong first novel from new author Bethan-Ann Scott. A dark, high-octane novel that is surprisingly profound. All the action scenes are intensely exciting. This book is filled with an array of exciting ship battles and firefights to rival scenes from Star Wars and Star Trek.
The Longer Review:
Empress fallen takes place far in the future (7000’s AD) long after the destruction of earth. Spaceships reminiscent of those of Star Trek and a galaxy run by an Empire that feels more oppressive than that of Star Wars. It has all the excitement of a good Sci-Fi series, yet is darker and exaggerates moral issues present in today’s society. The action scenes are intense and stimulating and very well written.
The first part of the book was mainly set up and back-story. Scott’s galaxy is very complex, and takes a large amount of set up to understand. A great fantasy world is one that is thorough; one that exists more off the page than on. Scott has created a fantastic realm, and I am excited to read more in it.
This book is most definitely a Space opera. Many of the characters and ideas build around exaggerated feeling and concepts; amplifying emotions and moralities present in today’s culture and politics. This is my first drama (and space drama) read; at times the character personalities felt too over the top for me, but I cannot compare to anything else.
A tyrannical empire filled with corruption, a danger that could destroy the entire human race. Miriam and Aliya find their destinies inexplicably intertwined as they fight to save an empire that they have been brought up to hate. Will they be able to save humanity and destroy the oppressive rule of the empress and still make it out alive? (Well you have to read to find out ;P ) A story filled with war, rebellion, intense ship battles, love, and secrecy. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish!
Bethan-Ann Scott writes amazing action and fight scenes. She adds enough visual for your imagination to create the imagery, but does not bog the story down with descriptiveness.
The first half of the story felt more like the intended Space-Opera genre; the second half of the book read more like Space-Adventure. Personally, I though the Space-Adventure portions were more exciting to read and felt more naturally written. Scott has a natural ability for action and fight scenes; her writing portrays this and is an obvious strength.
Scott writer consists of many short sentences. A good amount of them were one word; either a name or re-emphasized thought. (This maybe a norm in the drama/opera genre, but was not something I was accustomed to.) This made the beginning chapters and certain scenes feel a little choppy. Once the action kicked in to full throttle (around page 80) it felt like the sentencing smoothed out and the story flowed very naturally.
The character cast is very large and they all have uncommon names. One of the few critiques I have is that a character/place list and maybe a key term list be added to the beginning or end of the book. I frequently confused support characters with each other through the first half of the book; about halfway through I sorted them all out in my head.
The POV of the story follows 2 main characters; Miriam a ship captain/pilot; and Aliya, a rebellious slave girl. Miriam and Aliya begin as very similar characters; strong females, have lost parents, are from high rank families, and became fugitives. Overall, they are both pessimistic and anger is their dominant emotion. They both have love interests that are more even tempered then they are. They have leadership qualities, are hot-tempered, zone out in thought occasionally, and have major insecurities they do not like to share.
Their characters become more unique, develop well and gain more depth as the story progresses. I liked Miriam’s development and the well rounded character she became for the second half of the novel.
Aliya consistently made irrational, brash decisions from start to finish. She is very headstrong and emotionally in the moment. It seems like every decision she makes has the large possibility to kill everyone; and she would be dead in moments if it weren’t for those around her. She walks a fine line between peoples’ champion and death. Although frustrating, creates excitement and action chapter to chapter. She does not fit a stereotypical “main character” role. I am interested to see how she develops moving forward in the second book.
Empress Fallen is definitely worth the read, especially for Sci-Fi fans. It might not appeal to you, depending on the level of drama you are accustomed to, but try it out. Bethan-Ann Scott is a very young and talented writer, so give Empress fallen a read and jump on her “fan” bandwagon early!