Empire is the second book in the epic Chronicles of the Invaders space trilogy co-written by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard.
The end of Conquest, the first book in the trilogy, left the readers with more than just one massive cliffhanger.
Syl Hellais and her friend Ani had seen no other possibility left than to join the Nairene Sisterhood.
Paul and Steven Kerr, the two humans who had been sentenced to death were spared that fate but sent to the Brigades as soldiers to fight for the Illyri race accompanied by Peris, who promised Meia he would keep an eye on them and hopefully keep them from harm.
Empire starts right with a bang and sees Paul, Steven, Peris and their team descending on the planet Torma to find out what happened to the scientists there. Soon after they start looking around they find themselves the prey of vicious creatures. They barely manage to escape back to the mother ship Envion.
Not long after a Civilian vessel emerges from a black hole and its passengers, Councillor Tiray and his pilot Alis demand help from the Envion. They were followed and the Envion falls under heavy attack by Nomad ships.
Eventually Paul manages to capture one of the Nomad vessels and the small group makes it off the Envion alive. The ship though is a technically highly advanced vessel only disguised as a ramshackle Nomad ship. They realise Tiray and Alis have been chased by their own kind and that the Illyri will not stop until they find them so they decide to venture to the planet Archaeon to find out what secret it is that the Illyri don’t want uncovered.
Syl and Ani are both stuck at the Marque. Ani is proud to belong to the elusive circle of the Gifted of the Sisters and soon makes new friends. Syl, on the other hand, conceals her true powers and has no intention of trying to fit in or on making the Marque her permanent home. She secretly plots to get away and she frequently thinks of the human Paul and if she’ll ever see him again.
When one of the Sisters, Elda, disappears and Syl finds an engraved amulet with the word ‘Archaeon’ left for her by Elda, she knows something is terribly wrong and that she must find out what that word means. She uses her skills to explore the tunnels and hidden pathways of the Marque to unveil the secrets of the Nairene Sisterhood, not knowing she’ll get herself again into grave danger in doing so.
I am aware the Chronicles of the Invaders books are marketed for the YA market, but why exactly is actually beyond me, as for me it’s perfect, thrilling and truly inventive Science Fiction for grown-ups.
Most of the main characters are young, teenagers even, but there are simply no schmaltzy and/or kitschy or shameful moments (meaning like in Twilight) in sight.
The younger characters act like any of the other adults, as they have to deal with dire circumstances like war, loss of family and being cast away to places they feel they don’t belong.
Also, the general tone of Empire (as well as Conquest) is truly dark and there are story arcs that are very atrocious along with some quite graphic, gory scenes.
Empire is imaginative Science Fiction at its very best and the pacing is incredibly fast! As they story unfolds you’ll be forced to continue reading no matter how much you need the bathroom! A truly must read for anyone fond of Science Fiction and outer worlds in general! The Chronicles of the Invaders are as good as the original Star Wars trilogy regarding the great characters, the richness of ideas and the way you become so emerged into the story you feel like you are a part of it!
I am entirely thankful to John and Jennie for re-igniting my childhood passion for Science Fiction.
An interview with Jennifer Ridyard will soon follow on my blog!!
Empire is out in the UK already and will be published in the US on the 24th of February!