Series: Nemesis #1
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?
3 Drink Me Potions
Nemesis had a delicious slow-burn kind of romance between rival kingdom heirs that had me gripping the edge of my seat as I tore through the book. Where it mostly delivered on its promise for romance, it neglected to expand and explore the fantastical components of the story.
Who doesn’t love the kind of love story between enemies? Especially when one is living unbeknownst in the midst of the other’s household. Sepora held the key to a dangerous element that could be used against others if it fell into the wrong hands. Fleeing her home country and falling into the absolute worst place in her enemy kingdom may seem like a familiar trope, but it worked well for this novel.
I enjoyed the witty banter between Tarik and Sepora, although he only viewed her as his highest servant throughout most of the story. They may have been attracted to each other in the beginning but it wasn’t instant love for these two. They got to know each other a bit more, explore Tarik’s kingdom together and learn what it meant to rule.
Where it went wrong in this book mostly resided in a few things:
1) Sepora’s escape and initial journeys to Theoria took AGES, yet we know from the synopsis that she would end up in Tarik’s harem at some point. Did we have to spend so much time with her captors and the endless trek to their destination? I’m not sure we learned all that much about Sepora or this world in that time.
2) The lack of “real” action in this story may not be immediately evident but action only came in the sense of the THREAT of war from Sepora’s kingdom of Serubela. Nothing actually really “happens” on this front. If one didn’t come in hoping to get mostly a love story brimmed with romantic tensions, then it would very noticeable.
I know I shouldn’t be too harsh. I overall did enjoy Nemesis and the slew of several secondary characters. I’m not sure how realistic these people were (for example, Rashidi and Master Healer Cy) as they either fall under stereotypical tropes of these types of characters (grouchy old adviser) or weren’t described as someone you’d think would fit this description (ridiculously mature 13-year-old the king would consult on like, everything). But either way, they spiced up the story a bit more or else this book really would just be about Tarik and Sepora’s romantic problems.
How you’d fare with this book is pretty subjective, but at the heart of it, it would seem that Nemesis is just a romantic story like any found in a contemporary novel but set in some fantasy world with bits of special abilities in individuals.
Nemesis was slow to start and lacking of any true action that the synopsis may hint as the romance takes priority. While it can’t be described as any action-packed fantasy novel by any means, it can be applauded for its slow-burn romance that had my heart racing at times as I waited for sweet hot moments between enemies Tarik and Sepora. At the end of the day, I’d say this book is more recommended for romance lovers than fantasy lovers as the time allotted for each aspect is clearly unbalanced.