The Empress Game


An Atomic Moo Book Review

I kind of have to apologize to Titan Books for this one. They graciously sent me a copy of this book to review many months ago, and I’ve only just recently had the chance to read it. D’oh. My bad.

All the same though; Rhonda Mason’s space saga, The Empress Games is an exciting new science fiction epic with some very groovy old school vibes. It had a great blend of fantasy-futurism, action, and politics that was reminiscent of Dune, Star Wars, or even Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. Here’s the synopsis:

One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled: that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat. Now the tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called by a mysterious stranger to battle it out in the arena.

So, basically: A scantly clad warrior space babe is enlisted to save an empire she here self is hiding from. Excellent. Though some of Mason’s story comes close to hitting some other common sci-fi tropes (the villain isn’t too far off from many other mad scientist and sinister politicians from like stories, and the Ordochian’s powers kinda feels like “the force.” Just kind of…), she does add her own unique twist that creates strong characters and an exciting tale. I think I mostly enjoyed this book for the political world Mason created and the ongoing potential to trap Kayla in that world. Though I don’t want to spoil anything, it’ll be interesting to read (in future books) what happens to Kayla’s relationship to the empire and with her own people.

The Empress Game is currently available in most book stores or you can order your copy online from Titan Books.

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1 Comment

  1. That illustration could work for the BattleTech novel Close Quarters, which also features a nude assassin with Balinese daggers.

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