Nemesis (Nemesis #1)
By: Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
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?
You know those times where you read the synopsis of a book and everything sounds like its going to be your next favorite guilty pleasure read? Nemesis was that book. I wanted to see the enemies to friends to lovers story unfold, I wanted to see the vast fantasy landscape and the magical powers and the prince and princess love story. While Nemesis has all of the above, I felt that I actually saw very little of it. The setting is exquisitely detailed, the moutainous Serubel was described to be just as breathtaking as intended, with its mountains in the clouds, the watery depths on the side of the mountains and the bridges and Serpens crossing the sky. Theoria was detailed as a lush oasis of knowledge and forward thinking in the middle of the harsh desert, a throwback to ancient Egypt with its pyramids and golden headdresses.
After describing her world, however, Anna’s visually stimulating writing stopped. The plot felt stilted, with much of the important plot being told and never shown. We are told that the desert is hard for Sepora to cross, we are told that once she is in Theoria that her relationship with Tarik grows and there is chemistry between them, we are told of the events that cause this growth, and we are even told that events take place that make Tarik jealous and Sepora happy but never told what exactly happened. We are told these important details happened, and yet they are not even given the page time they deserve. Therefore, the relationship that unfolds has an annoying sense that a lot of backstory was left out somewhere and that it should really be important and matter to the reader, when there is no evidence to support that.
The other fault I find with the book is the ending, so SPOILERS BEWARE: Sepora learns of Tarik pursuing a marriage with another women, that in his mind is one that he is obligated to make because he must dutifully produce heirs. Sepora, obviously, has a problem with this especially since Tarik expects her to stick around to be his mistress. When Sepora tries to explain why she finds the whole arrangement disgusting and flips the situation on its head, Tarik doesn’t even respond by trying to see things from her point of view, he simply states that such an alternative would never happen so therefore it doesn’t matter. She then has enough self respect to leave as she refuses to share him and fight for his attention with another woman. In the end, though, Sepora’s father is in the position to offer her up as a bargaining chip and Tarik jumps at the chance to exchange the wife he would marry for duty in for the upgraded model that he actually likes and can produce a valuable element to boot. Obviously, this is upsetting on several levels, the most of which is that the main difference that causes Tarik to actually consider offering Sepora a role in his life other than as his mistress is the fact that she can produce this spectorium. Otherwise, she is not worth enough to him for him to even consider respecting her enough to marry her. And then Tarik is surprised that she is mad about it. The best thing I can see coming out of this situation is that it could, potentially, be manipulated that Tarik’s adviser takes the fall for the broken marriage contract with the other kingdom. As in, off with his head.
The part that is most disappointing about Nemesis is it’s promise. There was so much of it, and I would have gladly put up with the angst at the end if the rest of the story had been as fleshed out as it needed to be. Tarik and Sepora were excellent characters that had so much potential and I could easily have loved, not just liked, them both. As it is, I will probably gladly read the next book to find out how everything ends and to make sure that Sepora gives Tarik the yelling at he deserves and that the annoying and snobbish and pretentious adviser of Tarik’s will turn into the sacrificial lamb that will solve the, er, little problem that arises at the end of the book. (I am also looking forward to seeing how the adviser treats Sepora now that he knows she outranks him, and did so all along.)
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. A review copy was provided through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review.