Review – Nemesis by Anna Banks
An entertaining story but unfortunately one we’ve seen a hundred times before.
The beautiful warrior princess Sepora (and the text and everyone around her will not let you forget that she is both a warrior and a princess) runs away from her father who would use her gift to create the precious metal spectorium to forge weapons.
She intends to travel to the rival kingdom of Theoria and disguise herself among her people that settled there when they were freed from slavery (thinly disguised Biblical connotations here).
Ok – she is kidnapped in the desert (despite being a trained warrior), sold into sex slavery into the King’s harem (which she completely forgets how horrific that is when she notices how young and hot the king is) and then is promoted to his advisor’s assistant, then his advisor when the original one goes out of the country.
Mostly because of how hot she is, not her ability to run countries or anything .
To be fair, she is pretty smart – she does come up with an idea that only someone really clever could come up with, but it just becomes a bludgeon used to remind us how clever she is throughout the book.
And, that’s basically it. She has a will they/won’t they with the king while everyone waxes lyrical about how hot and smart she is.
The book sets up an amazing amount of tension – she can make spectorium, which the kingdom of Theoria is in massive need of, people are literally dying because they lack it. And her own country is poised to invade. Yet, some how, this is all abandoned in favour of mentioning how hot and smart she is, and the conflicts are all resolved in about two pages at the end.
The King of Theoria, Tarik, was so much more interesting than the female MC. His father died suddenly, leaving him as a very young king, with very little experience, and impending wars and plagues on his hands. I think he should have been the sole main character.
This was a great opportunity to subvert all those tropes we’ve seen before in the story of princess comes to rival country in disguise and falls in love with the king, but Mary Sue Sepora wasn’t up to the job.
Please see other reviews for criticism of whitewashing and cultural appropriation.
Watch my video review here: