Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2017
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.
A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.
Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing XFiles fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. When she's not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. She's a children's editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed far too many bikes and far too many shoes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.
Importance of Diverse MC
By Rhoda Belleza
I knew I wanted to write characters who represented different planets, races, species and religions. But it wasn’t like I declared: “I will write a diverse/intersectional novel!” While it was absolutely intentional, I didn’t want to force it—it was more like I'd wanted to mirror the world I lived in. I wanted to write within a scifi fantasy setting that captured the conflict and the complexity of humanity. I’m not quite sure I succeeded. I think there’s always more work to be done, more buttons to push.
Sometimes diverse or intersectional pieces in fiction get a bad rep, like we're doing it to sell copies, in which I would respond with a huge LOLZ and the laughing/crying emoji because that's not the financial reality for most of us writing this type of work. In fact it makes people uncomfortable. They don’t want to see real-world analogs because sometimes the real world is a misogynistic, racist, hateful place—and they don’t want to confront that in themselves.
I don’t care about those readers.
I’m interested in reaching readers who want to confront the world, who want to laugh and cry and learn. I want that for myself. It’s why I read and why I write.
At some point when I was way too old to realize it, I saw that I was mostly reading and watching straight white boys save they day. There was a hero arc type, and it sure as hell wasn’t a brown girl like me. In fact if any one character looked any different, they were relegated to tokenized side kicks, hyper sexualized objects, and villains with accents or regionalized speech. And when I was little, what that taught me was that my value lay in how well I could serve this hero.
This is absurd. It’s incorrect and harmful and it can be terrible for a kid’s self esteem. Why can’t a bunch of kids who looked like I did save the day? Why couldn’t they frolic across expansive fantasy landscapes, drive spaceships, be revered? Oh wait, they can.