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Vows of Empire

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Two young princes on opposite sides of a war must decide between loyalty and love in this galaxy-shaking finale of the Bloodright Trilogy. Gal and Ettian have never been farther apart. Once, they were roommates and best friends, each suffocating under a secret of galactic consequence. When Gal’s came to light—that he was heir to the Umber Empire and all of its brutal conque Two young princes on opposite sides of a war must decide between loyalty and love in this galaxy-shaking finale of the Bloodright Trilogy. Gal and Ettian have never been farther apart. Once, they were roommates and best friends, each suffocating under a secret of galactic consequence. When Gal’s came to light—that he was heir to the Umber Empire and all of its brutal conquest—the two were forced to flee their military academy, fall in with a brewing rebellion to reclaim the Archon Empire from Umber’s grasp, and face their long-held feelings for each other. Then the rebellion discovered Gal’s identity and to save his life, Ettian had no choice but to unveil his own secret: that he was the long-lost heir to the Archon throne. With Gal as a political prisoner, Ettian began the fight to restore his own empire—and to open Gal’s eyes to the possibility of a galaxy reclaimed from Umber’s greed. But just when Gal was starting to come around, a team of Umber operatives rescued him from Archon’s clutches and dragged him home to take up his crown. Now, separated for the first time and in full command of the might of their respective forces, the star-crossed rulers find themselves truly at odds. And with the war reaching a tipping point, the time has finally come for Gal and Ettian to confront what they owe their empires, their friends, and each other if they’re ever to forge a universe where the two of them can be together.


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Two young princes on opposite sides of a war must decide between loyalty and love in this galaxy-shaking finale of the Bloodright Trilogy. Gal and Ettian have never been farther apart. Once, they were roommates and best friends, each suffocating under a secret of galactic consequence. When Gal’s came to light—that he was heir to the Umber Empire and all of its brutal conque Two young princes on opposite sides of a war must decide between loyalty and love in this galaxy-shaking finale of the Bloodright Trilogy. Gal and Ettian have never been farther apart. Once, they were roommates and best friends, each suffocating under a secret of galactic consequence. When Gal’s came to light—that he was heir to the Umber Empire and all of its brutal conquest—the two were forced to flee their military academy, fall in with a brewing rebellion to reclaim the Archon Empire from Umber’s grasp, and face their long-held feelings for each other. Then the rebellion discovered Gal’s identity and to save his life, Ettian had no choice but to unveil his own secret: that he was the long-lost heir to the Archon throne. With Gal as a political prisoner, Ettian began the fight to restore his own empire—and to open Gal’s eyes to the possibility of a galaxy reclaimed from Umber’s greed. But just when Gal was starting to come around, a team of Umber operatives rescued him from Archon’s clutches and dragged him home to take up his crown. Now, separated for the first time and in full command of the might of their respective forces, the star-crossed rulers find themselves truly at odds. And with the war reaching a tipping point, the time has finally come for Gal and Ettian to confront what they owe their empires, their friends, and each other if they’re ever to forge a universe where the two of them can be together.

30 review for Vows of Empire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    Forgot to mention this during the actual week but happy release to this conclusion! Thank you to Netgalley and Sabrina Shen over at Del Rey for an ARC to finish off this series. Although there are aspects I enjoyed, think it's safe to say this leaned more towards letdown like the second book. I'm probably in the minority here and gonna start with what I didn't love, so the good will stick better at the end. I think the editor was slacking. By the third book of overdone writing, paragraphs stretched Forgot to mention this during the actual week but happy release to this conclusion! Thank you to Netgalley and Sabrina Shen over at Del Rey for an ARC to finish off this series. Although there are aspects I enjoyed, think it's safe to say this leaned more towards letdown like the second book. I'm probably in the minority here and gonna start with what I didn't love, so the good will stick better at the end. I think the editor was slacking. By the third book of overdone writing, paragraphs stretched out, and sentences weighed down with far too much metaphor and florid language, it gets old. I skipped whole sections of Too Much Politicking or Strategizing, over and over. We've seen this in the previous books; much tell, and hardly any show. The book wasn't long but it sure felt like it. That's a feat in a book clocking in under 300 pages. That leads me to the sense of stake. Everyting was depicted in such a hyperbolic, world's gonna end way that I think Skrutzkie sabotaged herself, like a narrative crying of wolf. Over and over we're told whole systems are at risk, how bloodthirsty Gal's parents are, all this extremely high-stakes tension is built into this trilogy. And yet at the end of it all, I never really felt that. Much of the tragedy is reduced to flashbacks, tension watered down with our characters removed from it by a generation. I get that it's YA but the characters' gravitas in every conversation and inner monologue defies what Cost we see. Avoiding spoilers but there are so many GOTCHA moments of a particular nature in this book that I stopped believing anything I read on-page, and that's just not effective storytelling. But now on to the better parts. It's always emotional getting to the ends of things, and I have real affection for this series, from its conception as fanfic with the serial numbers filled off, to the tropes, to the gorgeous covers. The first book was easily consumed, despite Pandemic Brain, and that I appreciate. I love how organic the inclusion of queer characters was in this series, how the world plays with gender roles and sexuality. Outer space, that blackness between planets, is a liminal space, like the wild west or the sea during the age of piracy; it begs this kind of acceptance of anything and everything. The gay, gruff generals, the sapphic commodores, the nonbinary ambassadors, and use of the title Emprex, those parts were awesome. What romance there was, was very good, complete with pining and feral makeout scenes. The ending was lovely and probably the best way it could go, given the pressures of the story. Women characters were allowed to shine, and even got POV slots in this one. It was neat to read Hanji's voice for once. The messaging of taking down monarchies and inherited right of rule was incredible. All in all, the Bloodright Trilogy was pretty fine. It's an inclusive world, an improvement upon its familiar base in popular sci-fi fandoms, and I applaude it releasing all three volumes through a global pandemic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shilo Quetchenbach

    Now THIS is how you end a trilogy that's been nothing but one plot twist and con after another with a bang. I fell in love with Ettian and Gal and Wen from the very beginning of Bonds of Brass. The writing style employed in these novels is easy and conversational and personal, making incredibly good use of first person perspective. The story races along at full tilt with plots and secrets and betrayals and counter betrayals and 'wait-that's-not-actually-a-betrayal's slotting into place and never Now THIS is how you end a trilogy that's been nothing but one plot twist and con after another with a bang. I fell in love with Ettian and Gal and Wen from the very beginning of Bonds of Brass. The writing style employed in these novels is easy and conversational and personal, making incredibly good use of first person perspective. The story races along at full tilt with plots and secrets and betrayals and counter betrayals and 'wait-that's-not-actually-a-betrayal's slotting into place and never quiiiiite spinning out of control, but only just. The first book was Ettian-focused, and the second Gal-focused, but in this one there's a nice balance of the two and also a look into Wen and a growing familiarity with the utter chaos that is the Wraiths. If I can just quote from my review of the second book in the trilogy (Oaths of Legacy) for a moment: --- "...if I could read about Wen going off-script with a mad slap-dash plan and Ettian caring too much and Gal “fed up to here with these two idiots but don’t anyone dare touch them” emp-Umber attempting to manipulate everyone forever I totally would... " --- Same, past self. Same. After absolutely flying through this final book at a breakneck pace I can say that I am completely satisfied with the ending. It's the best ending these characters could have dreamed up. It is everything I wanted (and several things I didn't know I wanted). The plot twists and surprises and long cons nearly killed me several times over as I read, in the best way possible. I love a good twisty plot where the characters are pulling multiple cons on each other and ALSO on the reader, and this trilogy definitely delivers, with moments that made me gasp and moments that made me want to cheer as things fell into place. I am in awe of Emily Skrutskie's plotting skills and also will read absolutely anything she writes because this trilogy and these characters have completely stolen my heart. *Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey for providing an e-arc for review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aarons_books

    Meh. It was okay. A little too short and I didn’t love the 4 POVs. But I understand why they had to happen mostly. Overall just a Meh trilogy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    akacya ♡̷̷ˎˊ

    this is the third book in the bloodright trilogy. gal and ettian, once roommates and close friends, now find themselves on opposing sides of a war. they’re trying to manage their feelings for one another with their loyalty to their families and empires. this was a satisfying conclusion that nicely wrapped up gal and ettian’s stories. there was sooo much pining since the two princes were apart pretty much the whole time which was painful haha. there were lots of plot twists too!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I just- I can’t- I don’t- These books fucked me UP, my dudes. They chewed me up and spat me back out. When I picked up Bonds of Brass, I was like “oh, Finn/Poe fanfiction, this’ll be cute” but it was SO MUCH MORE. This was action and betrayal and secrets and TWISTS. The motherfucking TWISTS. Like when Wen stabbed Ettian, I KNEW it had to be a trick but I was TRAUMATIZED. I absolutely lost my fucking shit like I’ve never lost it over a work of fiction before in my LIFE. Heavens and hells, Emily knows how I just- I can’t- I don’t- These books fucked me UP, my dudes. They chewed me up and spat me back out. When I picked up Bonds of Brass, I was like “oh, Finn/Poe fanfiction, this’ll be cute” but it was SO MUCH MORE. This was action and betrayal and secrets and TWISTS. The motherfucking TWISTS. Like when Wen stabbed Ettian, I KNEW it had to be a trick but I was TRAUMATIZED. I absolutely lost my fucking shit like I’ve never lost it over a work of fiction before in my LIFE. Heavens and hells, Emily knows how to write a good story. This was one of THE best sci-fi action stories I’ve ever read. It was funny and witty and I felt so much joy and excitement and shock and just UGH. And the characters! I love love love Wen. She’s so smart and capable and badass and she is going to do a fanTASTIC job at tearing down bloodright and reshaping the galaxy, with Hanji by her side helping her every step of the way. And while I still haven’t quite forgiven Hanji for shooting Ettian, I love the Wraiths with my whole ass heart. Each and every one of those idiots who share a single brain cell 💖💖💖💖 And ETTIAN. And GAL. And ETTIAN-AND-GAL. My gods, I’ll be thinking about these boys for the rest of my fucking life. They’ve gone through so much pain and sacrifice and struggle, and I am SO HAPPY they got their happy ending. Fucking soft boys. Fucking saps. So fucking in love it makes me want to 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮 10 out of 10

  6. 4 out of 5

    MeadeReads

    I doubt this book has even been written…but I loved it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    charlie

    “A life where we wake one curled around the other and don’t leave bed for a solid hour. A life of a thousand stolen kisses. We chase our hearts’ desire across the stars. Just the words one of us once shaped it into, the words we sometimes breathe to each other in the deepest part of the night, scarcely believing we finally have it. You and a life with you.” i'm honestly going to miss them so much 🥺 “A life where we wake one curled around the other and don’t leave bed for a solid hour. A life of a thousand stolen kisses. We chase our hearts’ desire across the stars. Just the words one of us once shaped it into, the words we sometimes breathe to each other in the deepest part of the night, scarcely believing we finally have it. You and a life with you.” i'm honestly going to miss them so much 🥺

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh Okay! First off, this book is MUCH better than book 2. By all accounts, even Gal's abrasively naive and immature mood swings finally take a back seat, and thank god because I didn't know if I could handle it. What I loved most about this book is that I truly could not tell where it was going to end and who was playing who. I guess with books it's so easy to write knowing that so much is going on "behind the scenes" that the reader can't see so it's fun to string them along. T Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh Okay! First off, this book is MUCH better than book 2. By all accounts, even Gal's abrasively naive and immature mood swings finally take a back seat, and thank god because I didn't know if I could handle it. What I loved most about this book is that I truly could not tell where it was going to end and who was playing who. I guess with books it's so easy to write knowing that so much is going on "behind the scenes" that the reader can't see so it's fun to string them along. There were many points where I was so shocked and went HUH?? after reading specific chapters. That was something that I loved so much from the first book and and really set the mood and intensity of the story. This happened in the second book but for me was just sour twist after twist that I couldn't understand or cope with. In this one, many of those twists stress me out, but I was not particularly upset by them and I felt that they made sense to the plot when they were later explained. I love Ettian and Wen's relationship, I love the ride or die vow that they have together and how supportive they are all of each other after such a shit last few months of politics and danger. I think Ettian and Wen really steal back the spotlight of this book and I think in a way almost overshadow the original pair of Gal and Ettian which I guess can be considered a bad thing. I was content with the ending though I could see it coming by about 75% through the book, it wasn't a shock, though in the back of my head I was constantly wondering if Emily was about to pull an Allegiant. For me, I think that plotline is so supercharged and spectacular that I was fully ready to accept it here. Something about destroying your main characters and having a queer woman take over really suited me, but killing of two lgbtqia lovers in the process probably wouldn't have been good for business. I respect that it didn't happen though a part of me is still menacingly rubbing my hands together pretending it did. My one big complaint is that we barely have any time or dialogue with Gal and Ettian together. All the pining and slow burn of the first book fizzles out in book 2 and then becomes a fast side plot to politics in book 3. I want the drama and the action but I also want the romance. That's definitely the one thing I wish was different. We got so much great time between Ettian and Wen, but none of our boys. Overall, I believe this series redeems itself and I'm happy to own all of them and definitely will reread them again in the future even if I skip book 2. Praise be!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I don't think I can properly put into words how very much I love Wen Iffan. Listen, if you've read the first two books in the trilogy, you know what to expect from this one: space shenanigans, insouciant reclining, political machinations, completely stupid boys pining, incredibly competent ladies making the galaxy a better place, and the minivan of starships. This book delivers in every way possible on the promise of the first two, unraveling a scheme several books in the making. You know how th I don't think I can properly put into words how very much I love Wen Iffan. Listen, if you've read the first two books in the trilogy, you know what to expect from this one: space shenanigans, insouciant reclining, political machinations, completely stupid boys pining, incredibly competent ladies making the galaxy a better place, and the minivan of starships. This book delivers in every way possible on the promise of the first two, unraveling a scheme several books in the making. You know how this one's going to end--you know there's a plan; and yet, you remain on the edge of your seat, biting your nails to stubs in anticipation of how it's all going to work out. Skrutskie is brilliant, and at this point, I trust her to always give me a wild and entertaining ride full of emotional roller-coasters and absolute satisfaction. If you haven't read this trilogy yet--hey, it's done now! You don't have to wait in between cliffhangers to get to this ending. So what are you waiting for? Go read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mariam

    I've always been told I have my mother's eyes, and now I turn them to their old purpose- bending the men of the Gordan bloodline to their every capricious whim. Similar to its predecessor, Vows of Empire has an incredibly slow build-up and spends over half the book repeating themes that have been long established. Furthermore, the scope of the war has grown so large that the much-needed detail about certain characters and events is no longer possible. With the trilogy coming to a close, I fin I've always been told I have my mother's eyes, and now I turn them to their old purpose- bending the men of the Gordan bloodline to their every capricious whim. Similar to its predecessor, Vows of Empire has an incredibly slow build-up and spends over half the book repeating themes that have been long established. Furthermore, the scope of the war has grown so large that the much-needed detail about certain characters and events is no longer possible. With the trilogy coming to a close, I find that I still know very little about Gal, Ettian, and Wen, let alone minor characters such as Hanji and the Wraith squadron. These flaws are nothing new and have been holding the story back since the first book. On the bright side, the last hundred pages or so were interesting enough that I stopped skimming. The action, plot twists, and ending were unpredictable which is always a good sign. Though it was still rushed, I prefer it to a story that drags on. Overall, a nice conclusion to a fun trilogy. ARC provided by NetGalley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wafflepirates

    *Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.* Rating: 3.5 Based on how book 2 ended, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one. Told mostly in a dual pov switching between Gal and Ettian as what at first seems like separate plot lines come together as the two plan something big. While both coming at it from different views, the pair realize the bloodright system is flawed and needs to be fixed, while also realizing they need a way t *Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.* Rating: 3.5 Based on how book 2 ended, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one. Told mostly in a dual pov switching between Gal and Ettian as what at first seems like separate plot lines come together as the two plan something big. While both coming at it from different views, the pair realize the bloodright system is flawed and needs to be fixed, while also realizing they need a way to thwart the Umber Empire's bloodthirsty ways. They enlist the help of Wen, who is probably the most competent person in this series, and Gal's Wraith squadron (led by Hanji, also an incredibly smart and interesting character). There's a main plan involving all of them that is largely kept secret, even as it begins unfolding, and seemingly unexpected roadblocks pop up that make it seem like there's more scheming going on than just what Gal and Ettian have cooked up. I felt like keeping such a huge, driving plot point under wraps, even until the last chapter practically, made it difficult to follow at times. There weren't enough hints at what the endgame was, and that made the plot seem messy at times. I also found it strange that (view spoiler)[they pulled the fake your death thing several times, having the Wraiths do it then it happen again sort of cheapened the effect for me. (hide spoiler)] While I wasn't wholly satisfied with how it ended, I did think it suited the story and brought some character arcs to a good end. And while I wish a lot of my understanding of the plot wasn't in hindsight, the actual plot was solid and interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    elise p

    While I more or less enjoyed Vows of Empire, it's my opinion that it does fall far short of the previous two books in the trilogy. The trilogy follows a very familiar arc in that the scope gets larger and larger with each book, but this fails for two reasons. The first being it was the tight, character-driven aspects of the first book combined with easy-to-follow action on a small scale that made it both loveable and easy to follow. By book 3, the scope is literally intergalactic, and the detail While I more or less enjoyed Vows of Empire, it's my opinion that it does fall far short of the previous two books in the trilogy. The trilogy follows a very familiar arc in that the scope gets larger and larger with each book, but this fails for two reasons. The first being it was the tight, character-driven aspects of the first book combined with easy-to-follow action on a small scale that made it both loveable and easy to follow. By book 3, the scope is literally intergalactic, and the details about the politics and the world itself start to become unrealistic (both in terms of the sci-fi, but more importantly, in the area of human motivation) and difficult to understand. Important side characters just don't act like humans with human motivation and critical thinking skills would. I was glad to follow our MCs through one more journey, but it unfortunately wasn't my favorite. *Many thanks to Del Ray and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this highly-anticipated ARC!*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Panderp

    I am so thankful to have had this series brought into my life. It's everything that I think of when I say I want well written and diverse queer stories. Yes, Gal and Ettian are utterly gone for each other but the fact that they're queer is the LEAST IMPORTANT part about it! I just want fantastic stories that include characters who are queer, without having the story revolve around the fact that it's queer, and the Bloodright Trilogy delivered! And not only that, but the female characters are SO G I am so thankful to have had this series brought into my life. It's everything that I think of when I say I want well written and diverse queer stories. Yes, Gal and Ettian are utterly gone for each other but the fact that they're queer is the LEAST IMPORTANT part about it! I just want fantastic stories that include characters who are queer, without having the story revolve around the fact that it's queer, and the Bloodright Trilogy delivered! And not only that, but the female characters are SO GOOD! Wen and Hanji and the Commodore and even Iva emp-Umber, in all her horrifying glory, are epic. These women know how to get shit done and (ignoring the tyrannical empress) will do wonders for the future of the galaxy! I look forward to the day I read these all back to back, rather than waiting a year in between. I need to experience it all again. It was worth it to sow the seeds of discord I'll no doubt reap when I go back to my administration. Worth it to wage this war, worth it to save his sorry ass from the academy when this whole mess started. I've said it before. I've wanted to believe it so badly, and now I can. No empire is worth it if I don't have him too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    rebecca

    ”we chase our hearts’ desire across the stars” i was fully prepared to get mad at this book, but i gotta say that wow. it completely surprised me for the better. it’s an absolute joy to read about cons and plotting in space and i’m so happy to have picked up this trilogy!! but i’m not gonna lie, i was about to pull my hair out over how many times the word ‘bloodright’ was mentioned. what did i ever expect from a trilogy legit named ‘the bloodright trilogy’ though??

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katja Skärlund

    Very disappointing ending unfortunately! The story's strongest suit and intrigue (ettian vs gal) was wasted, the final climax undramatic and this constant way of writing where all the characters know what's gonna happen but we don't even though it's first person pov is ... fun once but tiring in the end. If everything is a plot twist in the ways of "that didn't actually happen... This did" I won't believe a single thing that's happening in the story? Lots of potential wasted! Very disappointing ending unfortunately! The story's strongest suit and intrigue (ettian vs gal) was wasted, the final climax undramatic and this constant way of writing where all the characters know what's gonna happen but we don't even though it's first person pov is ... fun once but tiring in the end. If everything is a plot twist in the ways of "that didn't actually happen... This did" I won't believe a single thing that's happening in the story? Lots of potential wasted!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex Lake

    I think this was a really great end to the trilogy. I really missed Wen and Ettian and Gal so much. They really are the finnpoe we never got huh. I do think it was a little rushed in some parts and there is definitely a lot of political and strategic talk in this book which isn’t something that really suits my fancy, but overall I really liked it. The epilogue did makes me cry a bit I’m not gonna lie. But yeah, if you haven’t read the rest of this trilogy yet and you like star wars and wanted fi I think this was a really great end to the trilogy. I really missed Wen and Ettian and Gal so much. They really are the finnpoe we never got huh. I do think it was a little rushed in some parts and there is definitely a lot of political and strategic talk in this book which isn’t something that really suits my fancy, but overall I really liked it. The epilogue did makes me cry a bit I’m not gonna lie. But yeah, if you haven’t read the rest of this trilogy yet and you like star wars and wanted finnpoe to be canon, I definitely recommend catching up in time for the release of the last book! This arc was provided to me through Netgalley for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robbie Loosvelt

    normally i dont even like space operas but... the drama. the love story. the plot twists. the ENDING. amazing 10/10 im in tears

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shaz

    Two and a half stars This was fun and Gal has mostly stopped being unbearable and also it helps that he isn't the only viewpoint in this one. Liked what it was doing, not the biggest fan of how it did it. Two and a half stars This was fun and Gal has mostly stopped being unbearable and also it helps that he isn't the only viewpoint in this one. Liked what it was doing, not the biggest fan of how it did it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    The build up to the final confrontation from the beginning lead to this moment. An enemies to lovers romance with a twist set in the backdrop of far future space and two clashing empires. The first book in the trilogy grabbed my attention and now I am excited to see it come to an exciting end. Vows of Empire is part of an ongoing story so doesn’t make a good place to jump in. The tale started when two young guys became friends at the Umber space academy. One was a promising, young Umber and the ot The build up to the final confrontation from the beginning lead to this moment. An enemies to lovers romance with a twist set in the backdrop of far future space and two clashing empires. The first book in the trilogy grabbed my attention and now I am excited to see it come to an exciting end. Vows of Empire is part of an ongoing story so doesn’t make a good place to jump in. The tale started when two young guys became friends at the Umber space academy. One was a promising, young Umber and the other a scholarship student from the conquered Archon empire. Then a late night attempt to kill Gal made him go on the run with Ettian and share the secret that he was the Umber heir and he had to stop this attempt at a coup. The two young men go on the lamb to keep from getting captured and their adventure leads them to a savvy street gang member, Wen, who ties in with them and then the Archon resistance who can’t know Gal’s identity. They don’t speak of feelings, but Gal has never treasured before what he has with Ettien. His mother tried to make him tough, cold and ambitious, but all he wants to do is stop the brutal conquering machine of Umber might. If Gal thought his confession was a shocker, Ettien’s is mindblowing to him. And the twists keep coming in this building story of twists, betrayals, and machinations. I have been very taken with this series from the beginning. It has a good blend of worldbuilding, fast-paced action, intrigue, but, most of all, complicated relationships. Gal and Ettien started it and then Wen emerged as a main character and lastly, Hanzi, emerged. Everyone seems to have their own secrets and secret agenda. Vows of Empire began with Gal and Ettien far from each other and no solution in sight as to how any of it, from the two warring empires to the two enemy lovers, would resolve. I started to get an inkling early on what was really going on so I wasn’t very shocked by the surprise moments. Still, I could appreciate seeing how it all played out. I’m a little hazy on where things finally went on a grand scale because there wasn’t a final resolution there, but the main story, started in the beginning, got resolution. This was very much YA in some ways, particularly how the characters thought and behaved. I was grateful to be spared as much of Gal’s thinking since this one had four narrators including the two young women, Wen and Hanzi. In truth, Wen and Hanzi tended to overshadow Gal and, especially, Ettien. They were forces of nature and took initiative and faced the bulk of the danger and fights. The romance was undergirding the story, but was understated and not heated like in most YAs. This one wound out like a chess match because the plotters had a long game going and much of the book was spent getting their pieces properly placed. But, it didn’t lag and kept up the tension throughout. Those who enjoy exciting Young Adult LGBT Sci-fi or Space Opera should definitely give it a go. I rec’d an eARC from NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie Kemble

    This is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. It is definitely required that you read the first two books in the series to enjoy this book. The final book in the series contains the viewpoints of several characters, but relies mostly on Gal and Ettian. Our two heroes have been separated across a galaxy, but they have some tricks up their sleeves! Gal and Ettian must work out how fix the broken system of blood rights, while staying true to their friends, and navigating an inevitable clash betwe This is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. It is definitely required that you read the first two books in the series to enjoy this book. The final book in the series contains the viewpoints of several characters, but relies mostly on Gal and Ettian. Our two heroes have been separated across a galaxy, but they have some tricks up their sleeves! Gal and Ettian must work out how fix the broken system of blood rights, while staying true to their friends, and navigating an inevitable clash between their empires. Oh, and avoid the wrath of a cruel empress/mother. The characters beg the reader to ask the question of who should rule empires and how. Wen gets more focus in this book, but the character development that gets her to the end of the book is perhaps too little established. There are some good action scenes and twists that aren’t explained until the end of the book. I really enjoyed finding out how this space opera, focused on two people who love each other deeply, finished. I loved these characters so much that I wanted to see what they would do after the end of the book, but I also love getting to imagine it for myself. Well edited and paced. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an early copy of this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elsie

    I will go way too in depth with some spoiler thoughts and comments but first: I got and devoured this on release day just like I did for #2 and wow. My heart! Was this a perfect book? No. But for the sheer rush of emotions and laughs this book brought me (especially in the height of my grief over the loss of a parent wherein this book release was the one thing I was looking forward to and enjoyed over the past months) this deserves 5 stars! I do wish the boys spent more time to together (like th I will go way too in depth with some spoiler thoughts and comments but first: I got and devoured this on release day just like I did for #2 and wow. My heart! Was this a perfect book? No. But for the sheer rush of emotions and laughs this book brought me (especially in the height of my grief over the loss of a parent wherein this book release was the one thing I was looking forward to and enjoyed over the past months) this deserves 5 stars! I do wish the boys spent more time to together (like this should be romance first machinations second) but I also appreciate the subversion of mlm fiction by giving female characters prominent and memorable roles in the story. I've seen some critiques of the prose but honestly I enjoy it! I don't mind a little melodrama and flowery-ness and I think it holds well under each of the POVs (which I suspected there would be swapped POVs since the end of the last book and I appreciated being right). Now for a lot of spoiler discussion: (view spoiler)[ While I do love that the boys got to go run off and be in love together I personally would've preferred to see them retain their royal status. The narrative itself critiques Corinth's democracy for having much the same impact as monarchy and Gal/Ettian's removal from the political scene doesn't mean monarchy or bloodright will end for the better. If anything it just shows that the minor bloodline aristocracy has more power. In the real-world context I appreciate the anti-monarchical sentiment but this is a story and I love working with the monarchy concept. Like at least y'all could've become constitutional monarchs or something. We end the story with the boys getting their wish of living out their lives together (omg the last chapter being "US" made me scream) but from a story standpoint I wanted more! I actually enjoy political strategizing nonsense so I was very entertained by the plans but I'm also so sad we didn't get to see the fallout! Also I did end up predicting quite a bit of the actual plan before it played out in the narrative. Which I didn't mind but it made me realize that I would've preferred getting the plan upfront. I understand that since the plan had to be kept from the audience, we didn't get more introspective insight in the POVs during the journey but personally I would've easily sacrificed the surprise factor for knowing more about everyone's thoughts! I wanted to know more about their week all together in the apartment as well! The romance is easily this series' strong-point and we got so little of it. Getting to listen in on Gal/Ettian's thoughts and conversations during the planning stage would've gone a long way in strengthening the heart of the plot. As well, since there seemed to be so many back up plans I would've much rather have learned about everyone's doubts and angst throughout their attempts to succeed rather than be stuck along the ride that the rest of the galaxy witnessed. Also someone must've figured out that there was something smoking going on, especially since they managed to fake four deaths, why not two more? Also it made me sad that the Archon team pushed past Ettian's death so quickly, like didn't the core team know him at all? It would've been so out of character for him to retreat, I though Iral and others would've grown to have cared for him more by this point. Also what about the public opinion? You'd think there would be eventual backlash no matter how well liked Wen was before her coup. Not to mention that all these characters are still teens (or maybe early 20s if I counted the timeline wrong), you'd expect more suspicion (to be fair I just pretended they were older the whole series since it only just teeters on YA/NA). There was definitely room for this book to have been longer and to have gotten more character exploration as well. We for sure missed out on more of Gal's complicated feelings for his parents beneath all the scheming. I also wonder why Gal killing his mother and taking over the Umber regime was never an option? Or at least considered? On one hand the narrative established her as a violent antagonist and yet it does nothing to end her rule other than by undermining her succession. Has no one considered that she could simply have another baby? Especially since this is a sci-fi? This was a definitely a missed opportunity for at the very least some moral reckoning even if Gal chose to spare his parents because he loved them (which, did he? It's hard to say! I wish I knew). It also leave the audience (and the galaxy) with an ongoing enemy even by the end of the series. The greatest risk to Gal ruling is that he's too averse to violence to avoid assassination but I think he may have been able to do more good holding those reigns. I need someone to write a fanfic where Gal uses the Wraiths to kill his parents, he ends Umber rule in Archon and then keeps up a tryst with Ettian under the guise of continued diplomacy. Overall, I can see how this was probably the best ending for the boys (and how Skrutskie probably worked with them living out "normal" lives together as her endpoint) but I definitely feel a little sad for the sake of a larger plot. It also maybe feels like the cowards way out for the two of them? They definitely deserved to be selfish but I wanted to see them balance love and duty where they were granted so much power. But I am a sucker for complex royal romances with a drop of powercouple thrown in so maybe that's just me. Also!!! when (and where) did Esperanza manage to secretly get married amidst that whole war btw? She just dropped that on us when she could've invited us smh, (hide spoiler)] Regardless, the first book remains probably my favourite in the series but the whole trilogy now holds a place in my heart and will get a good couple of re-reads through the years. (I made a great spotify playlist for this after the first one so now it's an obligation at this point)

  22. 5 out of 5

    bee

    full review to come. i will never recover from this

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lili

    My heart is happy. The conclusion is overall satisfying--I am just very selfish and always want more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The fact that I am writing this review at all should be counted as impressive considering that I have been reduced to a pool of formless emotional mush. I am somehow both completely numb and on the verge of tears. I am ruined. When I read Bonds of Brass two years ago, during the absolute height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I couldn’t believe that book existed. Now – we are lucky to be living in a world where I see books like this more and more – but I still find myself a little bit in awe of what Sk The fact that I am writing this review at all should be counted as impressive considering that I have been reduced to a pool of formless emotional mush. I am somehow both completely numb and on the verge of tears. I am ruined. When I read Bonds of Brass two years ago, during the absolute height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I couldn’t believe that book existed. Now – we are lucky to be living in a world where I see books like this more and more – but I still find myself a little bit in awe of what Skrutskie has done here. A little bit in doubt that I actually just got to finish a space-opera-romance with these characters. Confession: when I read Oaths of Legacy, I was so foggy on Bonds of Brass that I didn’t realize the two books had different narrators. I just thought Gal had narrated both lmaooo. That’s how vague my memories were! So when I found out this book was coming out, I dug deep and found the time and energy to do a full reread of the first two books. I came into this book with my knowledge fresh! (It also made me laugh super hard that I had mixed up Gal and Ettian in book 1 because like… that whole book is SOOOOO Ettian) So how do I feel. Well, it was unpredictable! I did not expect (view spoiler)[Ettian to find out about Gal’s betrayal in chapter 1, a marriage proposal from Gal’s mother to Ettian, an ACTUAL marriage between Wen and Ettian, 6 fake deaths, Wen as Empress, Gal and Ettian giving up their thrones. Oof!!! (hide spoiler)] I think I stopped and said “WAIT WHAT” out loud at almost the end of every chapter. It was a ride. However, if I have one complaint about this book, it’s (view spoiler)[that in order to create shocking plot twists and keep the reader in the dark, I feel like we were deprived of some of the interiority that we would normally get from Gal and Ettian. And I’m sorry, but if Gal and Ettian are going to be apart for almost the ENTIRE book, I need my little crumbs of them thinking about each other!! They were very present in the first half, but the second half? Barely so. And when the love story is kind of… let’s be honest… the main story… it felt weird that it was so absent from so much of the book. It’s like, everything was perfectly plotted and so cool and suspenseful but also: THIS IS MY LAST CHANCE TO SPEND TIME WITH ETTIAN AND GAL. I WANT MORE OF THEM. GIVE ME MORE. Book 1 they were together the whole time, Book 2 they were together a lot, and Book 3……….. I mean yall it’s like 2 or 3 chapters. AGH. And I think I wanted more not only because of the shippyness of it all, but because legitimately I think that seeing them work through what it means to be together after the severity of their betrayals and lies… is fascinating. Like I could read a whole book about just that. Show me them working through some of that conflict, show me them unintentionally hurting each other and figuring out how to stop, show me them dealing with their heaps of trauma. So when I rolled around to the last 40 pages and had to realize like… this is it. Probably just one or two chapters of them. Idk. I was sad, my dudes. However! I can only be sad about not having more of Gal/Ettian because Skrutskie has created something so magnificent and wonderful here. (hide spoiler)] Like my biggest complaint about this book is basically: but I want a sequel :(((((( But that ending? (view spoiler)[ I feel sheer, boundless joy. I nearly began weeping at the beauty of it. At the perfect satisfaction of it. An “Us” chapter?! Literally destroy me!!!! (hide spoiler)] Also (view spoiler)[ why the hell didn’t Wen/Hanji become an official thing? I’m just saying. WHY. (hide spoiler)] Whatever differences or changes I might wish for: Vows of Empire has joined the very elite group of books that I have finished in less than 24 hours. I honestly did not have the time to read this book. But nothing was going to stop me from reading this book. It has been a beautiful adventure. My heart is full. Thank you, Emily Skrutskie.

  25. 5 out of 5

    travis

    I'm not quite sure how to start this review. Bonds of Brass grabbed me by the throat and took me out at the knees and I've been obsessed with the characters since. Oaths of Legacy was a great follow up, but Vows of Empire... while I thought it was definitely good as well, and I thought it was a good and deserving send off for these characters, I found myself still feeling a bit wanting. It's hard to explain without spoiling it all, so (view spoiler)[Ultimately, despite the tension that weighed h I'm not quite sure how to start this review. Bonds of Brass grabbed me by the throat and took me out at the knees and I've been obsessed with the characters since. Oaths of Legacy was a great follow up, but Vows of Empire... while I thought it was definitely good as well, and I thought it was a good and deserving send off for these characters, I found myself still feeling a bit wanting. It's hard to explain without spoiling it all, so (view spoiler)[Ultimately, despite the tension that weighed heavy in the first two books, despite finally getting to see Gal's cutthroat mother in action finally, the stakes just weren't there for me. We kept getting told how much hinged on them and all that, but from early on in the book we learn that there's contingencies and backup plans upon backup plans and that everything happens is actually happening because of the plan and there's no need to worry about it. Never once did I buy that any of these "deaths" were real. Iva emp-Umber was a great character and I enjoyed every scene she was in, and while she did do her best to be threatening, it ended up feeling just as toothless because I never felt Gal was in real danger the way he was in the first two books, and it would have been interesting to learn more about Iva and how she truly feels about her son. The way the book ends kind of left that up all in the air. Another thing was that what really sold the first book to me was Ettian and Gal's relationship, and while they had some good moments together in this book, they spend most of it apart, and I understand the reasons for that, but it's just kind of... I wanted more romance! We get told how much they love each other, how they can't envision a galaxy without the other, all that, but it's not shown so much. Instead we get a bunch of talk about military plans and tactics and strategies, and it's all Essential because it's part of one of the million plans to overthrow these empires. I got it, but it was a bit tiring when all I really wanted to see these boys actually fight for each other and their love. And back regarding the whole big plan: I do strain to suspend my disbelief with it, because I'm like, there's really no way that any of these adults caught on to ANY of it? They didn't suspect a thing? It all went off with nary a hitch? These characters must be the best actors of all time... and while the epilogue of Gal and Ettian was definitely sweet, I also wanted to see more of the fallout of their big plan. We spent so long seeing it slowly unfold and then finally learning about it, but we don't get to see what comes afterwards. Do Esperza and Ixal learn what really happened with Ettian? How does Iva react to her empire crumbling and the "death" of her only heir? Like if we're going to see all these strategies, it would be nice to at least see what happened afterwards. But I digress. I thought the characters were great as usual, I really liked the prose even if sometimes it didn't quite match what was happening, and above all, despite my big rant, I actually am satisfied with this ending for Gal and Ettian and think it's much better than them becoming emperors and marrying and continuing on the whole bloodright thing, I just wish we got more of them. More romance, more tension, more actual stakes. I think the series was sort of chasing the high of the surprise ending of that first book (which indeed left me gagged and bald), but never quite reached that again. Nevertheless, I still loved the journey and loved the characters, and am ultimately happy with how it all turned out. (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hunter Burke

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’m sad to say it, but this book was a real let down for me. Although I really enjoyed the first two entries in this trilogy, Vows of Empire does a poor job of both maintaining what made Bonds of Brass and Oaths of Legacy entertaining reads, and bringing this trilogy to a satisfying close. My biggest issue with this book is that the stakes felt so low. The majority of loose ends from the first two books were dealt with quickly and ineffectively. I couldn’t believe that in the very first chapter, I’m sad to say it, but this book was a real let down for me. Although I really enjoyed the first two entries in this trilogy, Vows of Empire does a poor job of both maintaining what made Bonds of Brass and Oaths of Legacy entertaining reads, and bringing this trilogy to a satisfying close. My biggest issue with this book is that the stakes felt so low. The majority of loose ends from the first two books were dealt with quickly and ineffectively. I couldn’t believe that in the very first chapter, Wen revealed to Ettian that she set up Gal’s extraction from Archon. That was one of several plot threads that were neatly tied up and sucked any tension from the plot. The low stakes can also be attributed to the writing itself. This entry in the trilogy has a much larger scope. Where Bonds of Brass and Oaths of Legacy were more tightly plotted and character driven, Vows of Empire is focused on intergalactic affairs and juggles several points of view. This makes the focus too broad, and a lot got lost in the shuffle. Also on a writing level, Skrutskie does a lot more telling than showing. We’re told about the brutality of Umber, about different characters’ feelings or motivations, but the way those things are conveyed isn’t compelling with the way Skrutskie has written them. There’s also the major plot twists that this book relies heavily on. This book is too “twisty” for its own good. Almost everything that happens from the halfway point onward is some sort of subterfuge. Even though this book is told from multiple first person perspectives, we never get the whole picture of what’s actually going on. And that would be fine if once the man behind the curtain is revealed, there’s a satisfying explanation for what happened and what the point of it all was. But we’re not given that. The big reveal—that Ettian and Gal planned to take their deaths in order to be relieved from their bloodright and also take down the system of bloodright entirely—feels half baked. That any of the characters, especially Wen Iffan, agreed to this plan feels very out of character. And the greater implications of what Skrutskie is trying to say about dismantling imperialism does not hold up to scrutiny, especially considering the events of the first two novels and the fact that our two main characters get to just dip out and not deal with any of the consequences of the empires they were set to rule. Ultimately, this book felt like it had too much on its plate. It was too short, there was very little time spent in any status quo before things got mixed up again. I honestly think there should’ve been one more novel after this one in order from Skrutskie to fully develop her ideas and execute them in a more effective way, especially with what she was trying to say about imperialism. It felt like she wanted to insert the dismantling of imperial structures into this book, but she didn’t take much time in the previous two entries—or even in this one really—to explore what it takes to actually do that work and affect that change. I had a great time reading the first two books in this trilogy. The romance was exciting, the characters were great, the action was thrilling, and even when things felt unrealistic or silly, I was able to brush that aside and have a good time. But there was simply too much going on in Vows of Empire, and too little of what made this series so enjoyable in the first place.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Courtney (courtney & books)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.75 stars. Summary: The third and final book in this adult space opera sci-fi, Vows of Empire concludes Gal and Ettian’s journey as their waring empires finally come into direct conflict. TW/CW: Sci-fi war and violence, and imperialism undertones. While this finale was a serious improvement from the last novel, Vows of Empire was an overall disappointing read and a far cry from the promise of the first book, Bonds of Brass. So what worked? This novel was just a lot more fast paced and interesting c 2.75 stars. Summary: The third and final book in this adult space opera sci-fi, Vows of Empire concludes Gal and Ettian’s journey as their waring empires finally come into direct conflict. TW/CW: Sci-fi war and violence, and imperialism undertones. While this finale was a serious improvement from the last novel, Vows of Empire was an overall disappointing read and a far cry from the promise of the first book, Bonds of Brass. So what worked? This novel was just a lot more fast paced and interesting compared to its predecessor, which made the novel feel like a return to the excitement I had when I read the first novel. What didn’t work? Unfortunately, the themes and characters that drew me into the first novel, failed to come to a satisfying conclusion. This, in part, was due to the lackluster second book, which ended with little build up to Gal’s sudden change of heart and no unpacking of the harmful ideals he was raised in. This final book went full steam ahead with the idea that Gal was redeemed and that he and Ettian had fixed their betrayal issues, with little comment on their time as enemies. But what I really took issue with was Ettian and Gals morals being contradicted and the idea of blood right was never deconstructed. I thought this would be the big theme of the story based on the complicated motivations they both had at the start of the series, and so while both give up their thrones, there was little of them working through and complicating the ideals they had been raised to believe, which made it feel like they did not grow or learn at all. I really thought this series was going to complicate our main characters thinking, but most of the story was based around plot. And the annoying thing about the plot was that it was all based on withholding information. Our characters were all masterminds but we were never privy to what they were planning, just to make plot twists and create suspense. I personally think this is a cheap writing trick and would rather see our characters work through ideas. But this was a short novel with little time spent on anything other than high action and drama. The plot twists couldn’t even feel satisfying as it felt like so many scenes were missing in a way to move the story to its trajectory. Even the characters I came to love in the first book had so little time spent on what they were really thinking and going through, which again made their character arcs feel like they never progressed. The ending was the most unsatisfying point. At the middle of the first novel I predicted Ettian and Gal escaping from their duties, dismantling the power based systems they grew up in. But by this point in the novel they were so invested in their blood right and kingdoms, and we are so invested in them as characters, that them leaving their empires entirely felt out of place in the story, especially because the narrative doesn’t spend the time having the characters dismantle their ideas of imperialism. Overall, this series was such a disappointment from the potential it first seemed to show. The series went in the most predictable path without the time spent towards interesting character moments or even the characters calling in to question their own motivations. A 2.5-3 star series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tanner

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5/5 🌕 The inclusive galaxy. I really appreciated how this adventure that focused on two cis men did not really end with them. This book felt like it transitioned to the people who were elevated around them and a great many of those people were women, non-cis, and sexually diverse. I especially love Wen’s storyline and the chapter from Hanji’s perspective. 🌕 The romance between the two MC’s wasn’t cheesy and had me soaring every time. There’s a place for cheesy YA romance and this wasn’t it. I t 3.5/5 🌕 The inclusive galaxy. I really appreciated how this adventure that focused on two cis men did not really end with them. This book felt like it transitioned to the people who were elevated around them and a great many of those people were women, non-cis, and sexually diverse. I especially love Wen’s storyline and the chapter from Hanji’s perspective. 🌕 The romance between the two MC’s wasn’t cheesy and had me soaring every time. There’s a place for cheesy YA romance and this wasn’t it. I think the scenes that were cute were so heartfelt. Ever since the first book, the romance between the MC’s has been really well done and this book is no different. 🌕 I loved the last chapter. I think the ending was hitting all the right feelings. Rarely do books MC have to let go of what they’ve had and watch the world play out without them. There’s that bittersweet feeling when you finish a book, the satisfaction of completing it and that feeling of knowing the world is going on and you have to keep moving. The characters encompassed that feeling perfectly and it fit their narrative and personalities so well. 🌗 The Villain. I give this half because there’s really two villains in my opinion. There’s the notion of blood right (the belief that power is bestowed solely through lineage) and Iva emp-Umber, the personification of ruthless power. While I loved the way the notion of bloodright was framed and from the perspective of Wen…I was disappointed in the furocity I was expecting from Iva emp-Umber. Yes there were brutal moments and some pretty dark scenes…I just have a hard time believing someone with that level of calculated furocity that has been talked up for 2.5 books could have been so easily swayed. I was just expecting more from that character. 🌑 This book is short in pages but long to read. The first few I was able to knock out in a couple nights, but this one’s pace was slower even though it jumped from next sequence to the next sequence. It had it’s funny, cute, and tense moments that held it together, but barely. And it tried to rely on twists, which the other books excelled at, but fell a little short. Even though I did appreciate the ending, and it was wrapped up nicely hitting all the right feels in the last chapter…it still left me debating on if the chapters leading up to it were different, would it have been better?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joyly Stevens

    To quote a sassy prince, "rut me sideways". I just finished this rollercoaster of a book and my mind has been blown to the outskirts of the galaxy so here goes my best attempt at a coherent review for Vows of Empire, the epic finale in The Bloodright Trilogy. We start in medias res, straight back to the action where Oaths of Legacies ended. Whereas book two has a slower start, Vows of Empire did not waste time. It's nerve-wreckingly detailed action one moment, and impossible scheming the next. Wo To quote a sassy prince, "rut me sideways". I just finished this rollercoaster of a book and my mind has been blown to the outskirts of the galaxy so here goes my best attempt at a coherent review for Vows of Empire, the epic finale in The Bloodright Trilogy. We start in medias res, straight back to the action where Oaths of Legacies ended. Whereas book two has a slower start, Vows of Empire did not waste time. It's nerve-wreckingly detailed action one moment, and impossible scheming the next. Worst of all is, you're never fully in the loop (because, of course, where would be the fun in that) I can here Wen and Hanji cackling from systems away. So it should not come as a surprise that this lack of you being in the loop causes buckets and buckets of cold-sweated stress to poor over you (it's the 2014 ice bucket challenge all over again). And of course, Emily Skrutskie had me with each plot twist. The number of times I yelled, “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK” is, in hindsight, slightly embarrassing because I realize that I am a gullible fool and believe everything I read while I'm well aware that I should know better. I wanted to throw my phone across the room so many times but I’m a poor student so I had to refrain from doing so and instead opt for screaming with my fist in my mouth because WOW this book was one hell of a banger. The scheming. THE SCHEMING!!! I cannot. I'm actually out of breath after speed-reading the ending of this book and I feel like I've been punched in the gut one too many times. There is so much going on both inside and outside the jurisdiction of your loop that you just do not know who you can completely trust. There's betrayal after betrayal and you sit there with a gaping mouth, hailing bugs home, wondering whether this betrayal was scripted or actually like "for realsies". And you pray to all the system gods that it was the former because Rutting Hell the latter will just crush your heart and soul (trust me, I speak from personal experience). Anyway, this book was absolutely fantastic. My favorite of the trilogy for sure! Can't recommend this gay space opera enough! It's got diversity on all levels and I am a Fan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nialla42

    I first started reading this series after seeing an online review referring to it as AU FinnPoe, and they’re not exactly wrong. The characters are strongly mapped on the characters from the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but the plot is a lot better, plus we get the boys in love in canon. There’s lots of scheming on a galactic scale, and even though you know something is going happen (several somethings, actually) the reader isn’t in the know about the plan until it’s done. There are hints so you can I first started reading this series after seeing an online review referring to it as AU FinnPoe, and they’re not exactly wrong. The characters are strongly mapped on the characters from the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but the plot is a lot better, plus we get the boys in love in canon. There’s lots of scheming on a galactic scale, and even though you know something is going happen (several somethings, actually) the reader isn’t in the know about the plan until it’s done. There are hints so you can piece together the outline of the Big Con, but not the details. So was a betrayal real, or part of the con? How about that one? Or that one? I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that I knew there was a Big Con in play, but even knowing what was likely to happen based on a previous event, I did have to pause my reading for a bit after one of those betrayal scenes. Not only was it painful to read, it basically meant one of the characters was sidelined for several chapters. Book one was from Ettian’s POV, book two was Gal’s, and there were a lot of Big Misunderstandings due to their lack of communication. In my review of book two, I said I wanted to see alternating POV’s from Gal and Ettian, and that’s pretty much what played out. I also wanted to see inside Wen’s head, and I got that too, though not exactly how I imagined. While I do love that The Bloodright Trilogy is exactly that, a trilogy, I do wish a little more explanation of what happens next had been delved into beyond an epilogue. The Umber Empire didn’t become a literal backstabbing mess overnight, and even with the events in the book, I’m not sure how the cycle is broken. Even Archon’s more benevolent ideals were tainted by a Bloodright that nearly ended years ago, yet managed to carry on after a fashion. Perhaps future books in the universe are possible though with a different cast of characters to explore how the events of the trilogy played out for others. ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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