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Empress of a thousand skies
2017
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When their paths cross after a brutal attack Aly is falsely accused of making on Rhee, they are forced to work together to save their own lives and the universe. - (Baker & Taylor)

Determined to reclaim her crown from a corrupt government and exact revenge for the deaths of her parents, Crown Princess Rhiannon narrowly escapes an assassination attempt and finds herself on the run in outer space alongside a refugee pilot who has been framed for the attack. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

Two fugitives, a princess-in-exile and her accused killer, cross the galaxy as they fight to reclaim her family dynasty and save the universe from a deadly threat. - (Baker & Taylor)

For fans of Pierce Brown and Firefly comes an epic sci-fi fantasy, hailed as "an important and relevant novel" by The New York Times. 

Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta&;an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She&;ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.
 
Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he&;s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation &; and his life.
 
Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly must confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

Rhoda Belleza crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy in this exhilarating debut, perfect for readers of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman's Illuminae Files. - (Penguin Putnam)

Author Biography

Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing X-Files fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. She's a children's editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed with far too many bikes and far too many shoes. When she's not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @rhodabee. - (Penguin Putnam)

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Booklist Reviews

"She was alone, friendless, and supposedly dead. It was her sixteenth birthday." Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta'an—Rhee—the last surviving member of the galaxy's ruling family, faces this sobering reality after she survives an attempt on her life by one of her closest confidantes and jettisons into space in pursuit of the man she believes orchestrated the fatal attack on her family. Alternating chapters detail the saga of Alyosha, roguish star of the DroneVision show The Revolutionary Boys (think YouTube channel meets reality TV), who gets framed for Princess Rhee's presumed murder. Belleza's ambitious debut lays the groundwork for what is sure to be a rich sci-fi series full of political plots and worlds on the brink of war, futuristic biotechnologies reminiscent of M. T. Anderson's Feed (2002), and startling plot twists. Fortunately, Rhee and Aly both stand out as resilient, resourceful protagonists who are, if not always innocent, at least confident in what they believe. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

The attempted assassination of Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta'an forces her to flee into space rather than avenge her family's death. Rhee's perspective alternates with Alyosha's, a black male refugee, soldier, and reality-show star framed for Rhee's supposed murder. Across-planet manhunts and romance ensue. While this debut novel's characters are oversimplified, the premise and outer space settings will engage fans of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A galaxy perches on the edge of war when word goes out that the crown princess has been assassinated. Except she hasn't been. An assassination attempt from a shocking source has Rhee running from planet to planet, disguised, untangling threads of deception and betrayal. She's bent on revenge on the man who assassinated her family years ago, which left her the last Ta'an of 12 generations of warrior emperors—but he may not be who she thought. In another thread, in breathlessly alternating chapters, Aly finds himself tossed from his life in the military (and reluctant star of a reality program) into a desperate quest to absolve himself from the charge of assassinating Rhee. It's no coincidence that Aly, the accused, is black and belongs to an oppressed refugee group; Rhee has the tan skin of the ruling group. Never faltering in her fast pace and nuanced characterization, Belleza weaves together many complex layers: the recent Great War (massacres, famines, clouds of chemi cal gas that scorched whole cities to dust); racism, roundups, and imprisonments; the roles of media and propaganda; revenge, guilt, grief, and obligation; and disturbing moral questions about privacy and technology, especially regarding the cubes implanted in most people's minds to orient them geographically and store their thoughts and memories. This is a multiplanet, multiculture, multitech world and a timely tale. An exceptionally satisfying series opener. (Science fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sixteen-year-old Crown Princess Rhiannon "Rhee" Ta'an is the Rose of the Galaxy, the only survivor of a crash that killed her parents and sister. Rhee is out for revenge, certain that Crown Regent Andres Seotra betrayed her family and plots to take over the throne. When Rhee is attacked by someone she trusts on the eve of her coronation, a Fontisian named Dahlen comes to her aid, but his motives are suspect. Meanwhile, 17-year-old reality star Alyosha Myraz and his best friend Vincent, who track renegade ships and poachers, are thrust into the wrong kind of spotlight when Alyosha is accused of Rhee's assassination. When Rhee discovers a plot to hijack people's cubes (which record memory and allow instant memory playback), her plans for revenge take a backseat to new concerns. Rhee and Alyosha are compelling characters, and the back-and-forth between their story lines keeps the pace fast; explorations of family, identity, and the power of memory are punctuated by exciting action scenes. Fans of calculating political maneuvering and expansive, interplanetary plots will find much to enjoy in Belleza's Firefly-esque debut. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. (Feb.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—This futuristic space adventure takes readers on a wild ride. Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta'an, the sole heir to the throne, is being hunted by those who want her power. She must defeat her murderous pursuers, avenge her family, and secure her position. But to do this, Rhee has to determine who is an ally and who is an enemy. Aly, a star of the show The Revolutionary Boys, is now a fugitive. Framed for a murder he had nothing to do with, he must figure out how to clear his name. But with Aly's face plastered all over space, it is not easy to avoid capture and find people to help him. While Rhee and Aly try to protect themselves, planets are at war, fugitives are everywhere, and technological advances are being abused by nefarious players. In her debut novel, Belleza creates a thrilling world filled with deception, war, friendship, and love. The fast-paced plot and relatable characters will hook readers, and the transitions between each character's point of view are smooth and easy to follow. This isn't the official start to a series, but much of the book seems to lay the foundation for a sequel. VERDICT A strong addition to sci-fi shelves, this is a good next read for YA fans of Marissa Meyer's "The Lunar Chronicles" series.—Jessica Strefling, US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Library

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.

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