Book Review: “The Empress Game” by Rhonda Mason

The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason brings a new twist to the classic princess novel. This was a wonderful read, filled with science fiction, fighting, mystery, politics, and just the right amount of romance. The Empress Game is the first book in a trilogy; as soon as I put down the first book, I wanted to reach for the next two. It features a strong female protagonist, Kayla Reunimon, who was raised in a culture where women are trained to be warriors to protect their brothers. She was forced to flee from her home planet with her younger brother and ended up on a planet full of thieves and criminals. Five years later, she is found and asked to fight in the Empress Games. What will happen when she competes, and does she have a chance of winning?

The Empress Game opens with a fight sequence. I was immediately hooked. I am not a huge fan of fighting, but these scenes are written so wonderfully and feature such strong, well-trained women that it’s almost impossible to not love them. Mason created this amazing universe and filled it with interesting and well-developed characters. I was drawn into the book within the first few pages and did not put it down until I finished it.

I love how strong Kayla is. She lost everything but still kept going to protect her younger brother Corinth. She believes that it is her duty to protect him and ends up fighting in the Empress Game so that she can take him back to their part of the galaxy. She is willing to do whatever she has to so that she can protect the people she loves. I have a huge appreciation for books with strong female protagonists, and finding one here made me very happy. I wish that there were a character like Kayla in every story.

One of the most fascinating things about this story is that the princesses fight for the hand of the prince instead of the other way around. The winner of the Empress Game gets to marry the prince and become the next empress. These women are expected to be strong and are trained how to fight. They know how to defend themselves and are fighting, not only to marry the prince but also to gain political power by receiving a seat on the Council of Seven, the ruling council of the intergalactic Sakien Empire.

Filled with strong women, fighting, and politics, this is a great novel for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a new universe. I loved The Empress Game; it was a fantastic addition to my summer reading list. I’m already planning on buying the second book in the trilogy when it comes out.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.