Book Review: The Empyrean by Katherine Franklin

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

If you’ve read The Empyrean, share your thoughts! What science-fiction or fantasy books should I read next?

5 Reasons Why Fanfiction is Easy to Write

I don’t normally read fanfiction; I generally despise it, as most of it is the most terribly written, hackneyed, typo-ridden dreck ever conceived. Rife with wish-fulfillment and self-inserts, fanfiction attracts the worst the amateur fiction community has to offer.

However, I’ve recently returned to a fanfiction site that I haven’t touched in over three years, and I realized that this genre of amateur literature (and it can occasionally be called that) has several benefits that make for great stories and easy entry into the hobby. Here are several reasons why fanfiction is easy to write and fun to read.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Fanfiction is Easy to Write”

I’m Still Reading

Dearest readers, whomever you are, I thank you for continuing to bear with me during the last couple months. Real life has prevented me from writing as often as I desire, but my passion for the art hasn’t waned. I wanted to share something from On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner that I read just now.

Finally, the true novelist is the one who doesn’t quit. Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way,” an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious—a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand—and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.

Gardner, J. (1985). On Becoming a Novelist. New York: Harper & Row, p.145.

I’m still on track for reading 35 books this year, but I haven’t been able to maintain my goal of writing one short story per week. As long as I’m writing something I still feel that I’m making progress, however.

Be Well!