Review: Nemesis

Publication Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

Princess Sepora of Serubel's world runs on spectorium- and, as the last known person who can create the precious substance, she is a highly valuable resource. When her father devises a way to weaponise spectorium and begins to eye neighbouring countries, threatening to plunge her nation into a war, Sepora disappears into the night. Presumed dead, she journeys to Theoria, hoping to live out the rest of her life as a civilian there, where her power will not be turned to destruction. When she is captured on the road by Theorian slavers, she finds herself in the Theorian royal palace, thrown back into the world of politics- this time in the court of her father's enemies.

Getting this out of the way right now: the cover is kind of weird and doesn't suit the novel very well, nor is the title really well suited to the story being told. Okay, now that the judging a book by it's cover is done, onward.

This book was... entertaining, but didn't function terribly well on any greater level of engagement. It's like... Kingdom Politics Lite. I don't entirely understand the means of governance of Theoria... despite the fact that the novel ostensibly focuses on politics of the country, it was mostly superficial glamour the grossly underestimates the complexity of managing a country. So that challenged my suspension of disbelief a bit. (Yes, inadequate governance systems stretch my ability to suspend my disbelief, but dragons don't. The human brain is weird.) Moving on.

I feel like I never quite got a handle on Sepora as a character... or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I didn't really connect with her. A lot of her decisions didn't make much sense to me.... and I found it really hard to believe that some of the things she suggested hadn't, you know, been suggested before...? She's impulsive in the extreme, but it seems to work for her, if only because of narrative convenience. I feel like I understood Tarik at the beginning of the book... but I actually lost any grasp I might have had on his character by the middle of the novel.

Something that was kind of interesting to me was the parallels with and references to Egyptian and Greek mythology. I'm not sure how much of that was intentional, but I assume at least some of it must have been.  Ones I caught:

  • Nemesis is the Greek goddess of revenge. I'm fairly sure they intended the more colloquial meaning of nemesis, though
  • Set(h) is the name of the Egyptian god who cut out Horus's (a.k.a. god-king/pharaoh, falcon-headed deity) eye. (Maybe. Depending on what version of the myth you listen to.) I'm not saying direct parallels, but there are... certain thematic similarities.
  • obviously the pyramids and some of the more basic characteristics of Theoria were inspired by ancient Egypt

The plot was a bit scattered... they often felt like they only happened because it was convenient. Also surely, surely there was a way for Sepora to secretly provide spectorium without telling everyone she was a Forger?

Overall, I feel like the book had a fairly strong concept, but didn't deliver well on a lot of fronts for me. I am curious about how the story ends, however, and will likely be picking up the second half of the duology.


KELLY

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here as a co-blogger.

  1. Ugh. Maybe I'll pass on this one. I thought it looked good but it just sounds confusing, far fetched and a bit boring.

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    1. I feel like it was marketed in a way that doesn't entirely suit the story, and it definitely has it's weaknesses. If you're on the fence about it, maybe go the library book route? It was an okay read, but nothing stunning.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Too bad it did not deliver, oh well can't win them all

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    1. I think it just wasn't what I was expecting, and then there were some weakness on to p of it that didn't work for me... it was still sort of entertaining though.

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  3. Sorry to know that you didn't feel connected to the plot! :(
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. They can't all be winners, right? Part of it was probably that it was marketed in a way that was a bit misleading, and ended up emphasising the weaknesses in the storytelling. It was still fairly interesting just... not enough to really hold the reader's attention and make them overlook the flaws.

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