Series: Nemesis #1
Author: Anna Banks
Publication Date: 10/4/16
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
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 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 may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?
Nemesis is the first book by Anna Banks I've read, and wow, she knocked it out of the park! This was a YA fantasy that was a really awesome read and excited me enough to want to delve into the genre again. It's been a while since a book in this genre has been able to do that for me.
Nemesis is told alternately from Sepora's 1st person POV and Tarik's 3rd person POV. Sepora and Tarik each have an ability that adds to their personalities and makes them even more interesting. Sepora is the last Forger, a person who can create a substance called spectorium. I'm still not 100% sure what it is, but I do know it's special and sounds like it would be pretty to see.
Tarik is a Lingot, a person who can speak all languages and discern the truth from lies. One of the main problems the characters in Nemesis face is the plague sweeping through Tarik's kingdom, Theoria. It was nerve wracking to see how Sepora would get around Tarik's ability because she needed to keep the fact that she can Forge a secret as well as other aspects of her true identity she needed to keep hidden. She was cool and confident though she had every reason to sweat it every time she had to be around Tarik. I admired that about her.
Then there's also the romantic tension between Sepora and Tarik. At first they can't stand each other, but slowly over time they grow closer. No instalove here though, so if that's something you don't like, there isn't anything to worry about. It was nice that the book's plot wasn't overtaken by romance, too. There were many more important things going on.
I was really intrigued by the Parani, who are a kind of merfolk-type creatures with webbed hands and human-like faces. They guard Nefarite, a substance Theoria needs, and they are deeply feared and were captivating to read about. I'm not sure I'd want to meet one, though!
I took off one star for two reasons. There was a lot to remember in the beginning - names of people and kingdoms including which kingdom was known for what. I admit I had to take notes to keep everything straight.
The second reason is Sepora's name. Like other reviewers, I found myself pronouncing her name Sephora with an "h" after the beauty store, and it bugged me.
I personally love this cover. It's what attracted me to check out Nemesis because I believe it stands out from most other covers. Beneath the interesting cover lies a story that stands out just as much. Whether you already love YA fantasy, or you've been looking to try it out, start with Nemesis.