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Nemesis
     

Nemesis

3.7 7
by Anna Banks
 

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The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

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

Overview

The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

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?

A thrilling futuristic fantasy in which the fate of the world's energy source is in the hands of a prince and princess who are rivals, by the New York Times-bestselling author of the Syrena Legacy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/05/2016
Sepora, princess of Serubel, is the last of the Forgers, who have the hereditary ability to expel spectorium, a prized element, from their skin. With silver eyes and a defiant spirit, she escapes her father’s grasp, hoping to avoid a war among the five kingdoms, but is captured by traders who sell her into the harem of neighboring King Tarik of Theoria. Although Theoria and Serubel are rivals, Sepora finds 18-year-old Tarik intelligent and good-looking. Staying incognito, she wins his favor by brokering a deal with the flesh-eating Parani and fashioning weapons to fight her father’s impending attack. But with the Quiet Plague killing Theoria’s citizens and King Tarik’s impending marriage to a Hemutian princess, Sepora leaves, only to discover an even more perilous situation. Banks’s (Joyride) worldbuilding is thorough and vivid, yet the intricate customs of the kingdoms and Sepora and Tarik’s inner thoughts, shown through alternating viewpoints, cause the story to lag. The instant infatuation between the two main characters drives the story, but can be shopworn and syrupy (“Every time he touches me I feel melted in place”) at times. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Oct.)
VOYA, October 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 4) - Cheryl Clark
Princess Sepora has fled her home kingdom and her father, who wants to use Spectorium, the special substance only she can create, to wage war against neighboring realms. When she is kidnapped and sold into the king of Theoria’s harem, Sepora finds herself in the position of advisor to the young king, her father’s number-one rival. Sepora knew she would have to keep her ability to forge Spectorium a secret and that she was the only one who could prevent war between the kingdoms, but what she did not count on was falling in love with her father’s nemesis and the one man who wants to use Spectorium for good. On the surface, Nemesis seems like any other fantasy novel with its weird names and strange magic—it is exactly the sort of thing publishing houses like to churn out. The difference between this novel and the others is that this one is actually really good. It has well-developed characters, an intriguing premise, interesting ideas, and the kind of cliff-hangers that keep readers flipping pages. Even if it were not for these engaging aspects, however, readers would be swept up by the steamy romance between the sweet and sexy King Tarik and the courageous and bold Princess Sephora. The only shortcoming is the less than “happily ever after” ending, which will have readers shrieking for more. If you have readers begging for fantasy or romance, toss this their way. Then stand back and say, “You’re welcome.” Reviewer: Cheryl Clark; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
07/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—Princess Sepora is sick of her evil father's greed for spectorium, the highly sought after substance that only Sepora can produce. Because of his uncontrollable avarice, she has been locked away in a cell, doomed to spend her life forging spectorium for her father to trade with foreign countries. With the help of her mother, the princess fakes her death and flees to a nearby kingdom, where she is kidnapped and unwittingly becomes a member of King Tarik's harem. Sepora convinces King Tarik to make her a servant instead, but she soon begins to fall in love with the ruler, someone she knows she can never have. Meanwhile, a deathly plague threatens her new home, and though spectorium is the only thing that will save people's lives, Sepora must hide her secret ability from her father's nemesis. The plot is creative and intriguing but also slow to develop. The story begins with an info dump, and although Sepora's romance with King Tarik is a critical piece of the narrative, it feels forced and at times cheesy. Sepora's character is fairly well-developed, but the rest of the cast is comprised of one-dimensional characters. The uniqueness of the plot almost makes up for its flaws, but not quite. VERDICT Purchase only where the author's previous series are popular.—Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA
From the Publisher

"With a lush weaving of magical cultures, war, romance, truth, and lies, Banks has created a unique, fascinating world brimming with intrigue. I couldn't turn the pages of Nemesis fast enough." —Mary Pearson, New York Times-bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles

"If you have readers begging for fantasy or romance, toss this their way. Then stand back and say, “You’re welcome"." —VOYA, starred review

"Interactions between Sepora and Tarik are right on target in terms of tenor and pacing, and the few stolen kisses and caresses are doubly satisfying because of that. ...This combination fantasy-romance novel touches on issues of trust, allegiance, priorities, and self-sacrifice and ends in a bit of a cliff-hanger. First in a planned duet, Nemesis will leave readers wanting more." —Booklist

"The plot is creative and intriguing..." —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250070173
Publisher:
Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
10/04/2016
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
58,904
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Nemesis


By Anna Banks

Feiwel and Friends

Copyright © 2016 Anna Banks
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10609-4



CHAPTER 1

SEPORA


If I were not such a coward, I would hurl myself from Nuna's back and plummet to the Underneath below. I would fall with purpose, headfirst on the rockiest part of the land. From this height, it would be painless. It would be swift.

It would prevent war.

But I am spineless, and so I urge my Serpen, Nuna, to fly higher and higher above the morning fog and mountaintops, which float against the sunrise and cast shadows like dark clouds onto the Underneath. Ah, the Underneath, that forbidden bit of land perched just beneath our mountains — mountains that are claimed by individual families or larger clans of families related in some way. Rope ladders sway in the wind all the way down, disappearing into the tall grass in places. If I weren't fleeing my home kingdom of Serubel, I'd be caught up in the beauty of it all, so high, scraping at what feels like the ceiling of the sky and looking down upon the monotony of the life I used to live, running through the grasses, throwing rocks into the River Nefari from the safety of Nuna's back, trampling over the undulating rope bridges connecting each of our mountains.

Yes, any other day, this would be a precious outing, a reprieve from Forging spectorium. Any other day, I would enjoy the freedom of flight, the time with Nuna, the endless possibilities of the morning.

But today will be the last of many things, and I mourn the loss of them already.

My thoughts wander again to far below us, far beneath the early mist and the waterfalls cascading into the River Nefari, to where my body should be sprawled, bloodied and lifeless and mauled. Yet, I tighten my hold on Nuna.

Saints of Serubel, but I am gutless.

Mother would have me believe otherwise: that it takes far more courage to hide, to live a life among the Baseborn class, who live in the poorest corner of our enemy kingdom Theoria. That the living conditions are rough, and the general mood of its residents even rougher. Those Serubelans who live there are not slaves anymore; stark poverty is what keeps them under Theorian control. If they could afford to, they would return to their homeland. If they could afford to, they would become citizens of Serubel again.

But I do not have that freedom. I can never return.

Not as long as Father wants to conquer the kingdoms. Not as long as I have what he needs to do so.

Nuna squirms beneath me as tears slip down my cheeks; she knows my feelings as well as I've come to know hers. She's beautiful, Nuna, even if she is a Defender. Most Defender Serpens are ugly, and not only because of their rugged training scars, but also because they are the color of the green mucus that seeps from noses when someone catches cold. Their spiked tails and thick underbellies resemble calluses instead of the glistening, pearly scales of other Serpens of different uses, and their facial features seem naturally arranged to be fierce, all arched brows and mouths set in an almost humanlike scowl.

But to me, Nuna could never be ugly, perhaps because I've handled her for ten years already, since a time before the weight of my body entrenched a natural saddle along her neck, just behind her head. Grandfather always said that time grew things, like trees and children and affection. Perhaps because of the time I've spent with her, my affection covers over Nuna's flaws. Oh, but it wasn't always so. When I was barely waist-high to my father, he announced that the entire royal family would ride Defenders henceforth to ensure our protection. I remember that day well, even though my understanding of the way of things was only proportionate to my age. I knew the people of Serubel were upset, and I knew it had been Father's doing. Father's decree had come as a shock — a king who felt he needed the protection of a Defender was concerning, especially after a fragile Trade Treaty between Serubel and Theoria had just been penned. It was a cold treaty, but one promising peace — and so why would His Majesty need a Defender Serpen all of a sudden? It put our people at unease, to say the least. But no one in the kingdom could have been more shocked than me, a quiet six-year-old princess, scared of Serpens in general and morbidly terrified of Defenders in particular. Politics were matters for the adults, but riding Defender Serpens was a most pressing concern for a child.

Still, Nuna struck me as different almost from the beginning. Her green coloring runs a bit deeper than the other Defenders', like fern leaves darkened by morning mist, and though she has the necessary scars from training to protect her royal rider, I had seen to it that the wounds were cared for and healed properly, so they are not as pronounced as the other Defenders'.

And when she sees me, I'd swear on the snowy caps of Serubel that she smiles.

Absently, I pet her head now as I spy the edge of the kingdom on the horizon. Where the grassy, rolling fields of Serubel end, that is where the Theorian desert begins. No, that is not entirely true. The kingdoms technically do not border each other; there is the Valley of the Tenantless that sweeps between the kingdoms, a vast, desolate dust bowl full of thickets and thorns and nothing of value and so uninviting and void that neither kingdom will lay claim to it. No one knows why this phenomenon occurs, where the bowl comes from, or what keeps it so bereft of life. Why the lush green grass of Serubel gives way to sand, then shriveling plants and prickly thorn bushes. Even the most intelligent of the Theorian scholars cannot solve the puzzle. And so the phenomenon is subject to rumors of a curse. Looking down upon the Tenantless from the safety of Nuna's back, I could convince myself of a true curse. But curse or no, I have to cross the valley to get to the Theorian desert — which, in my opinion, might be considered cursed itself.

Who would choose to live in such a dry, desolate place, I wouldn't know.

Perhaps it's fitting that I should flee to an afflicted, bleak kingdom. That if I should live, it will be among the Baseborn class of Theoria. That each day I should break my back for my portion of food and shelter and that I should become a slave to my own hunger and thirst.

Yes, it's fitting, and I want that for myself. I want that for myself more than I want an eternity in the cold recesses of the prison cell my father reserved for me. I want it more than the worry that he will soon grow tired of my resistance and perhaps trade my cell in favor of torturing me into Forging precious spectorium. I would rather hide in desolation and poverty, whether it be in the Baseborn Quarters or the Tenantless, than be the cause of thousands of deaths in all the five kingdoms.

And saints forgive me, I would rather hide than end my own life.

Nuna recognizes the boundary ahead of us — all Serpens are trained to halt at the sight of it — and she begins to slow, her three pairs of wings catching the wind instead of moving it. I coo into the small orifice that is her ear and bid her to land just before the grass fades into outstretched sand, the first of the overgrown thorn bushes standing guard in front of the rest of the valley.

Nuna cannot come any farther than this. If my father were to search for me, Nuna would be easily spotted, as I'd have to travel by air rather than by foot; she is much too big to navigate the thistles on the ground. Alone, though, I could hide among the thistles themselves, carefully of course, and from above be indiscernible and by ground be imperceptible.

It is the worst way to travel the valley, yet the best possible chance for escape. And so I dismount Nuna at the edge of the bushes.

According to my map, the kingdom of Theoria dwarfs the other kingdoms in size, though it's mostly desert and the population tends to accumulate in Anyar, where the River Nefari widens and cuts straight through. I'll follow the river to this capital city. I'll do as my mother says and I'll embrace this new life. She wants the best for me, Mother. But she also wants the best for Serubel.

And what is best for Serubel is that I never return.

I come around to face Nuna and rub her nose, which causes her tail to whip about in pleasure. Serpens have only wings, no hands or feet or hooves or claws. No limbs to scratch an itch or to self-groom — which makes them especially grateful for a good rubbing down. They enjoy being petted, bathed, touched. Serpens may look formidable, especially Defenders, but with their riders — their bonded riders, that is — they are as gentle as butterflies on a breeze.

And I will miss my Nuna.

I nuzzle the tip of her scaly nose with mine, which would be a ridiculous sight to see, I'm sure. Father would not approve. Even Mother might roll her eyes. And Aldon, my tutor, would sigh and mutter to himself, "Princess Sepora, a lost cause of a princess who treats her Defender as a pet." A pet that is longer than fifteen lengths of me, her head alone three times the size of my body — and so nuzzling really is a delicate matter indeed. But I need this one last comfort, this one last gift of affection from her, before I begin my journey.

She holds very still, careful not to open her mouth and expose her sickle-sharp teeth. I've had many stitches because of her accidental overexcitement, and while I usually do stay away from her mouth, this is a special occasion. "This is good-bye, my lovely friend," I whisper.

The words feel like a bite to my tongue, sharp and painful. Nuna nuzzles back, squirming to get as close to me as possible, slipping on the velvety sleekness of the undisturbed soft sand and losing traction. I step away from her. This is not good-bye for Nuna. She has no idea this will be the last time we see each other. She knows something is amiss, for I've never taken her this close to the border before. But she probably assumes I'll mount her soon, and we'll fly away together.

With my hands, I give her the signal to return to her holding on the far end of the mountains where all the Serpens are corralled. No one must know she's been out this morning. No one must know Mother flew her to my cell to aid me in my escape.

Nuna is not happy with my command and protests with a highpitched squeal. She's leery of the boundary still, as she should be. I shake my head at her, firmly, and make the signal again. Another tear streaks all the way down to my throat when she slithers backward, away from me. She watches me then, blinking once, as if to give me time to change my mind.

I gesture again for her to go.

I watch after her for a long time as she glissades through the air, leaving me behind. I watch until I can't see her any longer. Then I turn toward the Tenantless. Toward my new life. And I take the first step.

CHAPTER 2

TARIK


Tarik makes his way to his father's bedchamber in the farthest wing of the palace, the tension building with each barefoot step. Behind him, Patra pads along quietly, stealthily, the way only a feline could, pausing to stretch and let out an enormous, soundless yawn that brings the muscles in her back taut, the golden sheen of her coat glistening in the candlelight. Despite Patra's great size, Tarik suspects if his giant cat had the notion, she could sneak up on the wind. He waits for her yawn to subside, his lips curling up in a grin.

"You didn't have to come with me," he tells her, and she responds by nudging his palm with her nose, leaning down to do so as it were, since her head nearly reaches the height of his shoulder. Even though it's late in the evening and Rashidi's messenger had put her on alert, she purrs at his side, recognizing that they are going to visit Tarik's father — something they've done together since he was a boy.

They walk past the towering marble columns and the layered stone fountains illuminated with small pyramids of spectorium and, finally, the rows of guards on either side of them leading up to his father's door, swords and shields at the ready. They can protect my father from any outside intruder, Tarik thinks bitterly. But they cannot protect him from the thing inside him, asking him for his life day after day. Not even the Healers at the Lyceum can figure out what is killing the king of Theoria. Even they, of the Favored Ones, are powerless against this new illness.

The two soldiers standing at the great wooden barrier pull the ornate handles and open it wide for their prince and his feline companion, the hinges creaking loud enough to wake the statues in the massive garden outside.

His father's magnificent bed is at the end of the cavernous room, and it takes Tarik and Patra several more moments to reach it. Taking the steps up to the bed quietly, Tarik motions for Patra to stay behind. She obeys, spilling out onto the floor and resting lazily on her side as she watches him. Rashidi, his father's most trusted adviser, sits on the edge of the bed holding the king's hand. Tarik does not like this rare show of affection from Rashidi, does not want to consider what it must mean for his father's health.

"The Falcon Prince has arrived, my king," Rashidi whispers.

Tarik shakes his head, taking a place next to Rashidi. He cannot recall a single time his father has ever actually called him the Falcon Prince, not since he gave him the title when Tarik was but seven years. "You see into matters with the eyes of a falcon," he'd said. "Knowing discernment when others allow room for ignorance." The name had caught on in the palace and then throughout Theoria, and though he doesn't feel deserving, he could never admit such a thing to a father who had been so proud.

"Let him sleep," Tarik says, absorbing that the great King Knosi, in his weakened state, now takes up so little of the bed.

"I would, my prince, but he has summoned you for a reason," Rashidi says softly.

"The reason can wait until morning," Tarik says, already knowing what the old adviser will say. He doubts his father summoned him at all but rather it was Rashidi's need for tradition, for formalities that brings him to the bedchamber this night. Tarik cannot imagine, though, that his father will even wake, much less speak the decree making his firstborn son the new king of Theoria.

"I'm afraid it cannot, Highness."

"Please, Rashidi. I will never get used to you calling me Highness and meaning it." As the royal family's closest friend, Rashidi had had the displeasure of knowing Tarik when he was a boy. A very rambunctious boy.

The old man laughs. "Perhaps you are not a Lingot after all, my prince. Surely you would know my insincerity."

Tarik snorts. Rashidi wants to convince him that he doesn't mean Highness, that he is not officially acknowledging him as a ruler of Theoria. But as Rashidi said, Tarik is a Lingot. He can distinguish a truth from a lie, and right now, Rashidi is telling the truth. He is indeed calling him Highness. And he does indeed mean it.

"My father will recover from this," Tarik says, recognizing the lie in his own voice. Rashidi does not have to be a Lingot to notice.

"No," Rashidi says. "The Healers do not think him to live through the night."

"The Healers have been wrong before." Haven't they? Tarik is not sure.

Rashidi sighs. It is full of pity, Tarik can tell. Sometimes he wishes he didn't have the ability to deduce so much — even from body language. Rashidi is always composed, but tonight, there is an almost imperceptible slump to his shoulders. Rashidi feels defeated. Tarik swallows hard.

"Your father has requested that if he ceases to breathe this night, we will not summon the Healers. You understand what this means, Highness."

"I'm not ready, Rashidi." Not ready to lose his father. Not ready to rule as king of Theoria. At eighteen years old, he has been groomed all his life for kingship. But that was supposed to be in an official ceremony whereby his father would relinquish power to his firstborn heir — an heir that would be at least thirty years old by then, if circumstances permitted. Eighteen years or thirty years makes no difference to Tarik. A lifetime of preparation is not enough to make one ready to oversee an entire kingdom of living, breathing people who depend on the decisions he makes. The risks he takes.

The risks he doesn't take.

"What your mind does not yet know, your heart will make up for," Rashidi insists. "You prove you have the wisdom to rule by admitting that you are not ready to do so. The people love you. Let them support you."

Tarik mulls over Rashidi's words and finds them to be true. The adviser believes the people of Theoria do love their prince, and Rashidi is confident in his ability to act as king. It's reassuring, if only a little, that Rashidi is so steadfast. He is, after all, an advocate of the people first and foremost and adviser to his king second.

"The people do not know me," Tarik feels obligated to say. The people know a boy who takes after his mother. A skilled Lingot. A dutiful son. But they do not know his ability to rule as king. How could they?

Rashidi waves in dismissal. "I well know you, boy. I speak for the people. You'll not disappoint." The truth, or at least what Rashidi sincerely believes to be true.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Nemesis by Anna Banks. Copyright © 2016 Anna Banks. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Anna Banks is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Syrena Legacy: Of Poseidon, Of Triton, and Of Neptune(all Fierce Reads titles), as well as the standalone novel, Joyride. She lives in Crestview, on the Florida Panhandle, with her husband and their daughter.

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Nemesis 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
JollyRogerBooks 3 months ago
Nemesis is, IMO, a practically perfect example of the enemies to lovers trope because it hasn't fully resolved and it was slow burn. We meet Tarik & Sepora separately in their own separate POV chapters and get backgrounds before they finally meet. First we meet Sepora and slowly find out why she is on the run from her home and making her way to Tarik's kingdom. Sepora must first travel through the Wastelands before she arrives in the enemy territory. But traveling is hard for sepora and she must forge every so often to replenish her energy & strength. For Sepora is a Forger of spectorium, the most sought after mineral material in all the kingdoms. And only produced by Forger's with silver eyes and a unique ability. Of course Sepora is no damsel in distress and can take good care of herself. But even strong independent women can be caught off guard. A series of events leads her to being sold into the Royal harem where she attempts to escape because she is of the mind that Women are not things that can be bought or sold (how modern) even though she was sold into the lap of luxury as Tarik basically has no use of his newly acquired Harem after his father passes. Tarik is first introduced under very sad events. His father has taken ill under a new disease that the Healer's are unsure of how to cure and are eventually too late. Tarik must now become King at not even 20 years old. He has on his side ,at least, his father' most trusted adviser,Rashidi, to help guide him through the daily workings and traditions of being King. Sepora and Tarik's meeting is volatile and full of mouthing off and two hot headed teenagers being just that, with a touch of Rashidi's scoffing at how ill-mannered Sepora is. And it just builds from there. Tarik is being pressured over multiple issues from illnesses to potential impending war and Sepora must battle with her innerself over her abilities and the potential war coming from her former kingdom. All the while , falling in love with the king of her kingdom's nemesis. The romance is slow build and has great twists and turns and boy howdy did it culminate in quite the twist. Like complete did not see that coming. The enemies to lover trope is in full swing and is still building by the end of Nemesis. I personally can not wait for Ally.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The book starts off a little slow, but it will grab your attention and have you hooked and wanting more by the end.
TheThoughtSpot 5 months ago
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel and Friends for the opportunity to read and review Nemesis by Anna Banks! Sepora has escaped her kingdom with the help of her mother and her pet, whom she loves very much. In a neighboring kingdom, Tarik has been honored as he takes over the role of king when his father gets sick, deteriorates quickly and dies. This story is told in two points of view featuring Sepora as one and Tarik as the other. Sepora and Tarik alternate consistently throughout the book. I like this switching between the two because it gives insight into both of their thoughts and perspectives. Sepora is captured then sold as a concubine in Tarik's harem, which he never visits. She escapes and seeks an audience with Tarik and being amused by Sepora, he makes her an assistant. She's a handful for Tarik and he's not sure how to deal with her because he enjoys her and learns a lot from her, but he is expected to punish her actions by his peers and subjects. Told in beautiful prose, Nemesis weaves romance, intrigue and a unique story into a new and fantastic world, 5 stars! I'm looking forward to the sequel, Ally coming out Fall 2017!
MissPrint 8 months ago
Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in the Five kingdoms. She is the only person alive who can create spectorium, a powerful element coveted for its energy and powerful properties. When Sepora's father weaponizes spectorium, Sepora chooses to leave her kingdom in secret and disappear rather than help him start a war. Across the border in Theoria, Sepora plans to live a quiet and anonymous life while hiding her Forging from prying eyes. Until she is captured and forced into service for Theoria's king. Tarik is young to be king and feels unready for the responsibilities that come with the title, especially as he has to deal with a mysterious plague sweeping through Theoria's people with alarming speed. His efforts to track down a cure are complicated by a distracting new servant. When Sepora and Tarik meet they form an immediate bond and an unlikely friendship could lead to much more. Sepora's Forging could save Tarik's kingdom but if her father finds her, it could also lead to war across the Five Kingdoms in Nemesis (2016) by Anna Banks. Nemesis is the first book in Banks' new duology which will conclude with Ally. Nemesis introduces an interesting world filled with unique cultures that nod to ancient civilizations (Theoria places their dead in giant pyramids waiting for the day their scientists learn to conquer death) and science that comes close to magic. Unfortunately most of these elements are introduced through dense informational passages that make the opening of this novel feel clunky. The novel alternates between Sepora's first person narration in a stilted style that rarely uses contractions and Tarik's third person narrative. The transition from first to third person does little to differentiate between Sepora and Tarik's narrative voices and instead creates a jarring transition between chapters. Sepora is a thoughtful protagonist. She struggles with the choice to leave her home and what it will mean for her kingdom and beyond as spectorium disappears. Her moral dilemmas are portrayed throughout the book with careful thought and her growth throughout the novel is handled quite well. Unfortunately some throwaway remarks about other kingdoms lack that same forethought. Throughout Nemesis the Wachuk kingdom is described as primitive because the people their have chosen to eschew verbal language because actions, as it were, speak louder. The Wachuks use sign language and some sounds described alternately as clicks, growls and grunts. The commonality for every descriptor is that they are described as primitive. Readers never see what Wachuk life looks like to deem if this "primitive" nature extends beyond their language. The idea that being non-verbal makes the Wachuk's primitive is never challenged or even explored in any meaningful way on the page. Lingots, Theorians who are able to discern lies from truths and interpret languages, can understand the Wachuk but again that leads to any deeper conclusions. This bias where different is equated with primitive/inferior is compounded with the Parani. In Serubel, parents tell their children about the Parani as a cautionary tale to keep them out of the dangerous water nearby. The Parani live underwater and are rumored to be able to kill a man in moments. They have tough skin, webbed fingers, and sharp teeth. Sepora also learns firsthand that they are humanoid in appearance and capable of comprehension, reasoning, and language (in the form of high pitched sounds that aga
book_junkee 10 months ago
4.5 stars I have loved all things Anna Banks, so even though I wasn't overly intrigued at the premise of this, I was counting on Anna's words to pull me in. And she didn't disappoint. I loved Sepora and Tarik. They're both good people in difficult positions and it was enjoyable reading how they worked separately {and then together} to overcome obstacles. As always, Anna's banter is some of the best and I lived for the scenes of the two of them together. I'll admit that the first third of the story really lagged. I wasn't throughly invested until about 120 pages. There is a good amount of world building and backgrounds explained. However, it is all important for the overall arc. There were a few developments I didn't see coming and the last 50 or so pages had me going crazy. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. When I got to the ending, I almost screamed, until I realized that this isn't a stand alone like I previously believed. Overall, it was a bit of a slow burn, but by the end of the story I was in love. I'll eagerly be awaiting book 2 and be readily prepared to offer bribery in order to get it in my greedy hands. **Huge thanks to Feiwel and Friends for sending me the arc free of charge**
SammiiTX 11 months ago
I am upset. Oh my gosh, so upset. But only because I WANT MORE. It ended so suddenly (at least to me) because I just wanted more and more of the story, but alas, I need to wait until the sequel comes out, which will be a while because this book is not out for a few months. Nemesis took me less than four hours to read because I was so into it. I really enjoyed the story, I have been wanting a good royalty story, and though Sepora is not in the role of a princess, she was still one at heart and Tarik was a king so I just got all the royalty. The world building was oh so good. I love Egyptian mythology and Theoria looked to me like it was based off of Egypt. It probably was, I just don’t want to make assumptions. Okay, so Sepora. I can’t really decide if I like her or not. She seemed so naïve and innocent. She really didn’t understand the world and needed to have a better grasp on it, especially if she was going to be a queen. She was also very entitled and stubborn. She wanted to get her way and would do anything she could to get it. I wanted to smack and shake her half the time. She was also a teenage girl. She needed to get a grip on her emotions and be less of an annoyance. I really enjoyed Tarik, though he was just as naïve sometimes. He was suddenly thrust into his role as king and he was trying to make the best of it. I think if he was given more respect by his advisor, he would be able to do an amazing job. BUT THAT ADVISOR WAS SO ANNOYING. I honestly hated him and I wished Tarik would just get rid of him. I wish that I could’ve seen more of the real Tarik, he was so guarded that it was hard to see the boy that he really was. Nemesis is the book y’all have been waiting for. Anna Banks did such a freaking good job writing this book! It is the perfect mix of fantasy, romance, and teenagers finding their ways.
Alyssa75 12 months ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Nemesis by Anna Banks Book One of the Nemesis series Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication Date: October 4, 2016 Rating: 3 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis. 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? What I Liked: Anna Banks' books have been rather hit-or-miss for me. I liked Of Poseidon a lot, but felt a bit meh about the series in general. I didn't love Joyride. I DID really love Degrees of Wrong, but that's an adult book of hers, written under Anna Scarlett. I think Nemesis might be my favorite of her Young Adult novels! This book starts with Princess Sepora's flight (literally - on her dragon-like creature's back) from her home of Serubel. She refuses to be used as a weapon by her greedy father, so she escapes to Theoria, the rival kingdom. But she is captured and sold to the Theorian prince, who gives her to his brother, the Theorian king, as a concubine. But Tarik, the Falcon King (king of Theoria) doesn't care for his father's harem, and never goes. Sepora needs to get out of the harem, and she does. Tarik reassigns her to be an assistant to his most trusted adviser. But Sepora's wit and intelligence makes an impression on Tarik, and he includes her on more decisions for Theoria. Sepora reveals much about Serubel, but she find that she doesn't want to lie to the Falcon King. Sepora wants to help him protect Theoria, and help the Theorian people (who are dying of the Quiet Plague), but she doesn't want to be used by yet another kingdom. And what will happen when Tarik finds out that she is the princess of the rival kingdom? I did not realize that this book was part of a series, before starting the book! I was convinced that the book was a standalone, so I went into the book thinking that I was getting a story that would be resolved after approximately four hundred pages. Unfortunately I was disappointed, because the ending was totally unresolved and this book was clearly not a standalone. BUT. I liked the book and even though the ending surprised me, it is not a bad ending for book one of a duology (I think this is a duology). This book is written in alternating POVs - Sepora's first-person POV, and Tarik's third-person POV. This was a bit weird - I would have preferred both to be in first-person, or both to be in third-person. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)