Author: Anna Banks
Pages: 359 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Published: October 4, 2016
In Nemesis we follow the story of the Serubelan princess Sepora who flees from her father, because he wants to use her to Forge the element spectorium so he can go to war. Her escape brings her to the kingdom of Theoria where she encounters Tarik, a young king who has to deal with a plague and now with the war that is to come. Sepora is forced to be his attendant and gets drawn into the kingdom’s politics far deeper than she wants to. Soon she and Tarik realize that only she can save his kingdom, though they do so in different ways…
I shall start with the cover. On the one hand I think this cover is pretty interesting, but on the other it is terrifying and creeps me out. It fits the story though, I cannot deny this.
And what a story it was. I came for the hate-turns-to-love but got a mix of white-girl-saves-the-day and Ancient Egypt. I liked that the book was told from two perspectives, Sepora’s and Tarik’s, because both of the POVs were necessary and complement each other really well. The problem was that I did not really like how the characters told the story nor did I like the characters very much. Sepora is annoying and how she views the Theorians just gets a No from me. The kingdom of Theoria is clearly based on Ancient Egypt, but what I read there is just not how it works. We have the River Nefari (-Nile) and the desert around, the people are described at somewhat primitive in the eyes of our white protagonist, who also thinks the language is kind of barbaric. The people build pyramids to store their dead inside because they think they can be resurrected. Their king is called the Falcon King. The names are part Egyptian, some seem more Arabic to me (please correct me if I’m wrong) and I just… I study egyptology and I had to cringe at so many things or just laugh because it was just hilarious. And of course, the white folk in Serubel are more cultivated and have a better society without slaves. Of course the nemesis of this country is the one where the people are “olive skinned”.
Tarik was not much better to be honest.
And where did that love even come from? I mean, at first the two despised each other and then suddenly they are in love. What annoyed me the most about the love story that it was a servant (better: slave) – master relationship. Just no. No.
The book could have been so good. Seriously. The thing with people having Favors, like detecting lies or Forging elements was so cool! And there were magical beasts and merpeople and I wanted to love it. I really wanted to.
In conclusion, I liked the concept but not how it was realized in the end.