Snapshot Review: Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza

Title: Blood of a Thousand Stars
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Series: Empress of a Thousand Skies, #2
Pages: 359
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 20th 2018

      With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.
      Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.
      Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.
      Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.
      Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.”

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  • Accessible science-fiction novel – I always hesitate to pick up science-fiction novels. It’s just not my thing and my mind spaces out when things get to science-y. This duology is one of the few science-fiction novels I’d even recommend even to those who aren’t necessarily fans of the genre.
  • Rhee’s arc – In the first novel, Rhee is consumed by her quest for revenge. She’s reckless and her tunnel-vision makes her lose sight of what is important. In this sequel, Rhee is forced to pull back, to make difficult decisions in order to try to save the world from a dangerous man. She can’t be ruled be her emotions any longer, but must play smart, even if she has to make a deal with the devil himself.
  • Multi-layered world – One of the reasons I’m such a fan of this duology is how multi-layered and deliberate the world-building is. Belleza tackles everything from classism to racism (often in the form of prejudice against refugees) to making a commentary on imperialism. I finished this novel and sat there for a while wondering how this duology has gone under the radar.
  • Intersection of politics and technology – One of the main plot lines revolves around stopping a very power and charismatic political leader from gaining control over technology that would help the spread of propaganda, violate a person’s most private thoughts, and take away an entire population’s agency. I found it fascinating.

  • Missed opportunity for certain dynamics – I loved that Belleza often separated her characters because I think it made their individual arcs stronger. That being said, I really wish we had gotten more interaction between several of the characters. I’m torn between wanting certain characters to meet sooner and just wanting this to have been a longer series so I could see them interact more.

Rhoda Belleza’s Blood of a Thousand Stars is an exciting end to her criminally underrated Empress of a Thousand Skies duology that functions both as social commentary and an engaging science-fiction romp.

★ ★ ★ ★