Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home. But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?
I originally passed by this book, first because I thought it was the sequel to Hullmetal Girls, second because I thought it was an adult book that for some reason wouldn’t interest me. Well, the author tweeted something that this book has queer space boys, one of whom is a secret prince to an empire. She tweeted it in light of the FinnPoe Star Wars news and my interest shot up to a thousand percent, because a queer space story sounds amazing.
I’m not sure where to start with this book, other than to say that I really, really enjoyed. I don’t know why I didn’t think I would, but it was really good.
There was a lot that I didn’t expect with this book. I wasn’t expecting how morailty would be ripped apart, I didn’t expect to fall in love with a girl who wields a rainbow umbrella, I didn’t expect, I didn’t expect to love the world or for the world to be what it was. Ettian and Gal also surprised me with who they were and where they went. But, I ended up loving them.
I’m struggling to figure out what I want to say about this book! It was good and I liked it, but words are harder with this one for some reason. Plus, a lot of the things I loved fall into spoiler territory. On the top, like the things you get from the synopsis, this book is amazing. There’s queer space boys, one of who is the heir to a brutal empire. The other has to flee after an attack at their academy and they have to go on the run. Like, that’s incredible. BUT THERE’S MORE I CAN’T TALK ABOUT BECAUSE OF SPOILERS.
I guess I’ll start off with the morality.
This book was a lot heavier than I expected. It deals with war and making hard, hard decisions. The kind of decisions that affect the soul. I usually have a hard time with these kinds of books, but I actually really enjoyed this one. Gal and Ettian were trying to make decisions, while also struggling with moral dilemmas and figuring out where they fit into the hierarchy of their world. They’re also wrestling with feelings for each other and trying to stay alive in increasingly dangerous situations. It gives the feeling of characters being ripped apart from the inside, but there’s secret dreams, adorable relationships, and lots of spaceship flying to balance everything out.
I’m going to jump right to the ending. THAT ENDING WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I sort of had a hunch, but a more of a “oh that would be cool, but I doubt it will happen”, but it happened and it was amazing. It creates something so spectacular and it honestly changes the dynamics of the entire book (in the best way) and it sets up the rest of the trilogy so, so well. It makes everything more complicated and I can’t wait to see how the relationships progress and honestly just anything that happens next. This is the biggest part of the more that I can’t talk about because of spoilers.
For me, this isn’t the kind of book you talk in depth about. It’s the kind of book you list off aspects until everybody runs off to buy it because it’s packed full of amazing things. Queer space boys (this basically sold it to me), a secret prince (I wanted the book in my hands as soon as possible with this point), mutual pining/best friends-to-lovers (the pressure builds), and a rebellion, an assassination attempt, and a space academy (here is where my heart basically explodes). There’s also a girl who can slip out of any situation, the best curse words, metal hands, and a plot twist that blew my mind. I am very much looking forward to seeing where this series is going!
Thank you for reading!