Series: Nemesis #1
Published by: Feiwel & Friends on October 4, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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?
My first impression.
The title (“Nemesis”) -> To me, screams intense, awesome, badass warrior girl on a mission for revenge. (Or maybe some kind of undercover operation.)
The cover (which I love) -> Reinforces everything about the title. Kind of a stone cold killer warrior princess. Again, maybe one undercover.
I guess when I reread the synopsis after finishing the book, the synopsis doesn’t give me any of those things, so maybe I shouldn’t have anticipated them. Because none of those are present in the book. (But to me this also implies a pretty bad disconnect between the synopsis/story and the title/cover.)
I think I was just so caught up on this idea of “nemesis” that I based all my expectations on it.
What actually happened…
The main character Sepora, and Tarik are not enemies. Not really, anyway. Hundreds of years ago there was a bit of a disagreement and Tarik’s kingdom branched off from Sepora’s. But since then, they’ve lived as peaceful neighbours. (Maybe they didn’t like each other, but there were no wars or anything.)
Tarik is certainly not Sepora’s nemesis; her father simply doesn’t like Tarik’s kingdom. He’s just a grumpy old king who’s still butt-hurt about Tarik’s kingdom branching off from his… before either of them were even born.
Sepora leaves for Tarik’s kingdom, Theoria, of her own free will. She helps Tarik of her own free will. She helps him because she’s genuinely concerned about him and his kingdom.
Regardless of her father’s grudge, does that sound like he’s her nemesis? Especially when Sepora hates her father. I think it’s too strong a word. I see it more like, “She fell in love with a girl her daddy (who she doesn’t like anyway) has a grudge against.”
Let’s talk about some good things.
I didn’t love Nemesis, but it wasn’t all bad either.
I really loved the setting. It’s sort of a spin on a tech savvy, fantastical ancient Egypt, which is only the coolest thing ever! Deserts, cats, pyramids, pharaohs… Oh gosh, it’s brilliant!
Plus there’s this whole spectorium forging thing, which was both cool and slightly weird. It was weird for two reasons: 1) because it was like some magical substance that does EVERYTHING; 2) View Spoiler » [they started injecting it into people *shudders*. « Hide Spoiler]
Also there are five kingdoms total along with at least one other species that’s intelligent but not really a “Kingdom”. We only get bits and pieces but I really enjoyed those bits. Anna certainly created an interesting world.
Now, sadly, let’s hop back over to the bad.
The pacing was SUPER weird.
It was very disjointed.
The VERY VERY beginning was interesting. Sepora has run away from her kingdom and I was immediately hooked by that. I had all these great questions and was excited to get answers.
But then almost THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF of the book is just… boring. A crazy big percentage is Sepora travelling through the desert on her way to Tarik’s kingdom, but it takes her FOREVER to even get there.
In the desert.
Until she gets kidnapped.
Then her and her kidnappers.
In the desert.
For so long.
As Sepora plots her escape.
It takes her FOREVER to even meet Tarik. It must have been at the 45-50% mark. I was bored of waiting. I just wanted them to meet, goddammit.
My biggest problem with this part was that even when I got to the end, I saw it as unnecessary. I mean, yes, the kidnapping part set some things in motion, but it was not necessary for it to take anywhere near as long as it did. It dragged on and on when it really didn’t need to.
Even when Sepora finally makes it to Tarik’s kingdom, it takes another big chunk of percentage before she actually meets Tarik.
But when she finally does meet him, I was interested again.
But towards the end, things got disappointing.
As I got closer to the end, I lost my enjoyment again.View Spoiler » [
I started out really liking Tarik. He was smart, kind, and level-headed. But he got weird. It’s like he lost all his substance and just became a caveman.
Me want Sepora.
Sepora be mine.
I keep Sepora here.
I make Sepora wife.”
He lost every interesting thing about him and became solely focused on his attraction to Sepora, but in a very caveman way.« Hide Spoiler]
It’s a bummer because I started out quite liking the romance (before it really became a romance… I liked the potential that was there), but then I just thought it got worse as it developed.
Because of that, I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the series. I love the world it takes place in and I would like to see more of that, but in my experience, if I’m not on board with the romance then it’s hard for me to enjoy the rest of the series. I had this problem with The Winner’s Trilogy and I think I’ve learned my lesson.
All that being said, Nemesis was an interesting book and I think you could really enjoy it if you don’t put much weight in the “nemesis” idea, and if you’re a fan of Anna Banks’s other books.