I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Nemesis by Anna Banks
Series: Nemesis #1
Length: 359 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
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 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 may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?
Nemesis by Anna Banks is a fantastic, fast-paced fantasy where politics and magic reign. Told in alternating points of view, the story opens with Sepora running away from her dictator father and into the enemy kingdom where Tarik is preparing to take his father’s role as king when his father succumbs to the plague crippling his people. When their paths cross, lies are told to hide Sepora’s true identity and an uneasy friendship begins.
Sepora & Tarik
Sepora is an easy character to like. She’s a trained fighter, a princess, and the last known Forger. It is the last ability that is the catalyst for her running away. Her father wants to use her as a weapon, forging Spectorium (a magical metal like substance that has multiple uses) and keeping it from the other kingdoms who rely on it.
Tarik however is who won my heart. Tarik is the loving son of the king of Theoria. He is grieving for his father at the onset of the book, and yet he pushes that aside in a desperate attempt to find a cure for his people. A wasting type plague has infected them, and almost all infected succumb as his father did.
When an Enemy Becomes an Ally
While fleeing her kingdom, Sepora is captured and sold into the new king Tarik’s harem. This I thought was an interesting twist. With Sepora’s silvery eyes, it is likely she will be found out. However no one has seen the princess of Spectoria in many years, even Tarik. So she hides in plain sight.
Tarik is like a human lie detector and detects that Sepora is lying about something but doesn’t know what. As a result, he keeps her close to him, even admitting her into his council. Yet he never fully trusts her, and as a result this creates a whole lot of lies with the truth sprinkled in.
Underwhelming with a Strong Conclusion
Nemesis is a hard one to decide if I loved or just liked it. The majority of the book is spent with world-building, introducing the different characters, species, and countries, AND the abilities that some are born with (like Sepora’s Forging ability). There’s some light romance, NOT INSTA-LOVE (yay!) but enemy to friends to lovers trope. But the ending!!!! GAH! I loved it. It fit the story and had me purchasing book 2 and immediately reading it. If you enjoy YA fantasy with a light dose of romance, I recommend it.
Series: Nemesis #2
Length: 320 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Princess Sepora of Serubel and King Tarik of Theoria have formed an uneasy truce between their kingdoms since the deadly plague began to rip through Theoria. Since their feelings for each other are entangled in politics and power, they must use their own trusted resources to find common ground.
But when traitors with powerful allies arise from unexpected places, Tarik and Sepora face challenges that will change both of their kingdoms forever. Will they learn whom to trust—including each other—in time to save their kingdoms, their relationship and even their lives?
I immediately picked up Ally by Anna Banks when I finished Nemesis. That cliffhanger-ish ending left me reeling, and I needed more. Sadly, as much as I enjoyed Nemesis, the same cannot be said for Ally. Events that were hinted at in the first book happened in this one with little to no buildup. Everything felt rushed, and unfortunately that effected my reading.
What I Liked
Sepora’s storyline really picks up in this book. As the reader, we finally get to see Sepora as princess. She’s stepping into the role not only to protect her people from a potential war but also to protect Tarik’s people from her father. She stands her ground, refusing to Forge for either king, and in my opinion this takes guts. She’s unaware of Tarik’s motives and he hers. which keeps the reader guessing on the outcome.
Tarik’s character really takes a nosedive this book. I loved him in Nemesis. But here his grief that he suppressed in book one catches up to him. As a result, he becomes a ruler that lashes out at those around him and really distrustful of virtually everyone that speaks near him.
What I Didn’t Like
As I already mentioned, Ally really didn’t hit the mark for me because of it felt rushed. SO much happens in this book that really the author could have stretched the series out to three possible four books. There’s a kidnapping, war, the plague (still!), and another war. ALL in one book!!! These events happen quickly with very little buildup or details.
Time is also very fluid. Months can pass in a page and an hour can take an entire chapter. This left me as the reader confused and thinking maybe I’d missed something.
Also don’t get me started on the love-hate relationship between Sepora and Tarik. These two are a match made in heaven, BUT all the lies from the first book catch up to them here. The relationship is wishy-washy at best, and communication still sucks. Seriously y’all, all these YA books, the problems can be solved with GOOD communication 😂
My Final Thoughts
Overall Ally really lacked what made Nemesis special. While the first book was chock full of political intrigue, this one tried to squeeze too much action into its pages. The events that happen left no impression on me as a result. If you enjoyed the first book, then I recommend finishing the series. You may feel differently than me.