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 from 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 could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs? (Via Goodreads.com)
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I cannot deny that I thoroughly enjoyed Nemesis. Anna Banks created an elaborate world with enjoyable characters and enough political intrigue to catch anyone's attention. There is no doubt that the world she created is one out of my fantasies. I have always loved studying Ancient Egypt and she created a kingdom that paralleled the ancient civilization; however, she added her own touches. The worldbuilding of Nemesis was my absolute favorite part of the novel, I would have rated the book over five stars if that would have been the only part I was critiquing; however, Nemesis has some flaws.
The beginning of the story absolutely hooked me. I fell in love with the intricate world and the novel's two main characters. As the story progressed, however, I had some problems with the characters and how they treated one another. I will go more in depth about that in the spoiler section of the review; however, I would like to clarify that they were not abusive to one another, Tarik simply makes exceptions for Sepora that I was not a fan of. I do enjoy their relationship even though it was a case of love-at-first-sight. The book seems to take longer than the amount of time that passes so it is harder to realize; however, they do fall in love too quickly for my taste. It was also a rather predictable book; however, it was actually not a huge problem for me. I was simply along for the ride.
I actually preordered a signed copy of Nemesis from Books of Wonder to get an exclusive art print of Tarik and Sepora. You can still order your copy and get an exclusive print, which is absolutely gorgeous, and a Nemesis bath bomb for a limited time. I highly recommend ordering a copy, the goodies are too amazing to miss out on, especially if you are a fan of the novel.
I just discovered that this is the first book in a duology. I had assumed that Nemesis was the first book in either a trilogy or a series. There are not enough duologies, especially set in a fantasy world. I am very excited for the release of the final book in the duology, Ally, that I am assuming will be released in 2017. While I had no original expectation for Nemesis, by the end of Nemesis, I was not as pleased as I had been when I initially started the novel. However, I did enjoy the novel and I am excited to see how the story develops and ends in Ally. I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Nemesis and trying it for yourself.
I believe I might have disconnected with the story due to the long gaps I had to take while reading it. I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of Nemesis at San Diego Comic-Con this year and since then I have been busy with life and school. I originally started Nemesis three weeks ago, but my schedule with extra-curricular activities and school work took over. I had to skip reading several days a week. If I had the time to read Nemesis in a smaller time frame, I might have enjoyed it more. I also read the novel while sleep-deprived, which is never a good thing; however, the writing is easy enough to follow that I was able to understand it while running on a lack of sleep.
Nonetheless, I am highly anticipating the release of Ally, I will definitely be preordering it once it is available for preorder. I hope that Ally will include a map, it would help in understanding the layout of the world and it would be a beautiful addition to the book. I am not the biggest fan of Nemesis' cover. It enchanted me at first and it does somewhat relate to the story; however, the cover could be so much more. I am curious to see if they will change covers in the next book. If they do not, I am going to assume that Tarik will be on the cover of Ally. This was the first book I have read by Anna Banks, but it most certainly will not be my last. I own all of her other Young Adults books and I am excited to dive into them.
The major issue I had with Nemesis was the slack that Tarik gave Sepora. She constantly spoke out of turn and defied him in the presence of his advisers and guards. I understand that he allowed her to do it when they were alone, but he should have at least talked to her about stopping her behavior. Although there are large differences between the kingdoms of Serubel and Theoria, she grew up as a princess, she knows how to properly address royalty. At one point, she even told herself that her father would beat her for one of the statements she said. I understand that Anna wanted to create a sassy and independent woman, but Sepora needed to understand her boundaries. If she truly cared for Tarik she would have treated him in a respectful manner in front of others. While he might not have minded her doing these things, it set a bad example for the others around them. Near the end of the novel, Cy even spoke to Tarik out of turn because of the example Sepora had set when the three of them would meet.
While Tarik did not mind, he still should have told her to respect him when others are around. He is the new pharaoh, others need to know that they must respect him. She can sass him all she wants when the two of them are alone, but with others she should have understood the example she was setting. Especially when Tarik refused to confront her about it. He barely even acknowledged it while others in his presence saw how wrong it was. She escaped punishments that others would have probably received. Sepora seemed to constantly make it out of trouble although she should have been punished for her actions. Life has consequences, she should have at least received some. The only true punishments she received were having more guards posted outside of her door and then she had to train Doby, which was a reward if anything.
I did like their relationship; however, Tarik seemed to overlook his rule as pharaoh when it came to Sepora. He let her get away with so much. They also fell in love so quickly. They barely knew anything about each other yet they fell madly in love. They knew each other for about four weeks but they were already admitting that they loved each other. Then they were so mad at each other that it made me wonder what they even felt to begin with. They barely knew each other and when the truth was revealed, they had problems with what they were withholding. Although I do have some complaints about Sepora and Tarik, I do truly enjoy them together. I am interested to see where their relationship goes in Ally because of the current state of their relationship.
Like I mentioned previously, I absolutely loved the world of Nemesis. It was so intricately constructed and developed. Each of the kingdoms featured a culture that was unique yet similar to some of the cultures our world has once known. I loved that the Ancient Egyptian idea of cats being worshiped was applied to Theoria. I personally love cats and the addition was rather nice. I could only imagine having a massive cat in my household. Several normal sized cats are bad enough. In a way, the different cultures touched on some of the problems our world faces today. Sepora was rather critical of the clothing of Theoria due to her own culture's ideals until she realized the functionality they had for Theoria's climate. When studying past or present cultures, it is hard to separate from your own. It is hard to be culturally sensitive when you view your own as the "right culture." I loved that the topic was addressed in a young adult fantasy novel. It is a safer genre to address such a hot topic but it still leaves an impact on its intended audience.