Nemesis (Nemesis #1)
By Anna Banks
Summary: 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?
Source: I received a digital ARC from NetGalley.
Nemesis was a YA fantasy novel about a young princess who fled into an enemy territory and attempted to lay low, only to find herself in the sort of predicament she hoped to avoid. It was action packed and unique. I requested Nemesis because the synopsis immediately got my attention and I was into the mood for a YA fantasy full of romance and adventure.
I have to be honest, it took me a bit to get into the book. I felt restless for the first few chapters. It was interesting, but I just wasn’t connecting with Sepora and I kept wondering if we were going to watch her just attempt to survive while Tarik was over there trying to save his dying population. However, the book picked up a lot as soon as Sepora finally got to Theoria (especially because of how she actually got there) and I was hooked. I went from forcing myself to turn the page to staying up way too late to finish it.
Nemesis is proof that sometimes DNFing a book within the first few chapters isn’t always a good idea. I’ll be honest and say that I considered it and the only reason I kept going was because I was so behind with NetGalley books and I already DNFed a major title this year. But I got through the rough beginning and it became a book that I just could not put down. I was so invested by the end of the story. (Certainly I’m not criticizing people who DNF because I do it all the time, but it’s nice to know that putting in a little effort in the beginning pays off with a wonderful story sometimes!)
I enjoyed Nemesis a lot. I respected Tarik and the choices he made. I was intrigued by Sepora and her mountain home. It appeared there was an error in truth, as Tarik and Sepora had vastly different “memories” of why the kingdoms ended up the way they did and I expect the King of Serubel, Sepora’s father, was partly to blame, as I saw little evidence of Tarik hiding information, but maybe his father hid information from him and his kingdom was just as full of secrets. I think it’s important to mention that I respected Tarik because I think that was a large part of why Sepora was so drawn to him. It wasn’t a YA fantasy with a heroine who lost her mind about a hot boy, but a heroine who had felt used by her family and thought that was how kings had to rule, only to encounter a rich kingdom full of freedoms and a king who dressed “down” and visited local children in a servant’s disguise. I mean, I just loved how Tarik ruled and how Sepora had to make some tough choices because so much of what she experienced were things she just didn’t know how to process. I couldnt’ blame her for wondering in the back of her head if it was all just a ruse to get her to spill secrets about her kingdom. Sometimes, Tarik was trying to do just that, but was it just to get her to open up?
The back and forth between Tarik and Sepora was great. I loved her ruthless attitude and her failure to follow rules. She was an impulsive person, but her ideas were revolutionary. I feel like she would be a wonderful ruler if given the chance. I don’t know if I want her by Tarik’s side or ruling her own kingdom or maybe both?
On a side note, a few reviewers have expressed how much they dislike the cover. I have to agree, it’s a bit off putting. I hope perhaps the cover may change by the time it’s published, but I think the synopsis and title will drawn people in and the cover IS eye catching, despite how weird it looks.
I definitely recommend Nemesis if you enjoy YA fantasy. It was fun, fresh, and full of just the right balance of adventure, magic, and romance. I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Don’t let the beginning fool you, it’s a real page turner if you just keep going and give Sepora a chance to get to Theoria.