It’s been a while since I wrote a book review. I used to apply for giveaways in the LibraryThing Early Reviewers group, but the ones I received lacked polish or just weren’t that interesting. When I want to review amateur fiction, I’ll visit WattPad.
However, I recently acquired a Kobo Libra 2 e-reader and decided to load it with some ebooks. I discovered StoryBundle SFWA Space Is Big bundle (sadly, it has ended, so you’re out of luck on that bundle) and got a bunch of ebooks to read during the epic weeks-long power outages this winter. I started with The Empyrean.
As a teenager, I was full of emotional angst that often felt like a distinct creature inside me, eager to burst free of its meaty bonds. Relatable, right? Combine that teenage angst with the Force, and you get the Empyrean.
In Katherine Franklin’s novel, The Empyrean, I discovered a science fiction universe that was simultaneously familiar and new. The story focuses on two characters, Ferrash and Palia, who hail from opposing galactic superpowers. Ferrash’s culture forbids emotion, and Palia is in grief and shock at the loss of her son, so when they are brought together seemingly randomly, their interactions are engaging and interesting. They develop a friendship as they go forth to explore the galaxy together, eventually becoming entangled in conspiracies, galactic plots, and even a coup, all while learning about the mysterious Empyrean and their connection to it.
The mystery of the Empyrean, or the Force-like emotional power utilized by a select few in this universe, hung above my head throughout the story, and I was pleasantly surprised to finish the book with a few questions left unanswered. The promise of a continuation of Palia and Ferrash’s story makes the ending fairly satisfying—especially since the sequel was released just earlier this month. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Ms. Franklin describes herself as a new author, and she self-published The Empyrean. As such, I offer leniency in the slightly less-than-professional editing of the story. There were no glaring errors, just a handful of awkward sentences, and just enough typos to remind me that there is no major publishing house behind this book. The language is quite readable and approachable even for those who aren’t regular sci-fi nerds, but there were enough accurate science references to earn my approval.
My rating: 4/5
I recommend this book. Get it at https://franklywrites.com/what-have-i-published/galaxy-of-exiles/the-empyrean/.
If you’ve read The Empyrean, share your thoughts! What science-fiction or fantasy books should I read next?