This book review is going to be a bit different from my typical reviews. In addition to reading and reviewing the book, I was asked by the publisher to create a makeup look inspired by the novel. There will also be a giveaway at the end!
By: Anna Banks
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
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This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.
Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.
Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?
What I thought
Nemesis follows Princess Sepora and King Tarik through alternating chapter. Sepora is the princess of the Kingdom of Serubel while King Tarik is the new boy king of the Kingdom of Theoria. There are an additional 3 kingdoms in this Egyptian inspired universe that the reader hears about through the main characters, but are not visited in this story. At the beginning of the story, Tarik has lost his father and is newly made King while Sepora has fled her kingdom for freedom from her father. In addition to their family troubles, Tarik has to deal with a new plague taking over his kingdom with no cure on the horizion while Sepora has to deal with her tyrant father and his desire for war with Theoria.
I know this all sounds completely confusing. To be honest, after reading the first chapter I was completely confused and very put-off. The unique names of everything made finding my footing in this fantasy world very difficult. However, after Tarik’s first chapter (the second chapter in the novel) pieces started falling into place. It was definitely a bit like being dropped into the middle of an unknown world and having to learn your surroundings, but that little bit of disorientation at the beginning is completely worth it.
In addition to the initial confusion with the worlds, the character have powers that are referred to as Favors. Sepora is a Forger, meaning that her body produces an element that is living and full of energy called spectorum. Tarik is a Lingot, meaning that he can tell when someone is lying as well as speak and understand any language instantly. I imagined spectorum to be similar to oil in that it is used to power everything and has become essential to a lot of the kingdoms for survival. Because Sepora is the only Forger, Serubel is the only kingdom that is able to trade spectorum. Her father abuses this power and prompts her to run away. When she leaves, she leaves his kingdom without their greatest trade. As a result, Theoria, who relies heavily on the power of spectorum, starts to experience a shortage. Not only is King Tarik concerned with regaining more to keep his people happy, but it turns out it could hold the cure to the plague ravishing his city.
Still with me? This is easily one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in a while. The world is unique but familiar without being too familiar. I also greatly appreciated how Banks created and molded the relationship between Tarik and Sepora. There is no instalove and there is no love triangle. It is a realistic relationship of two people who meet, have their differences, but also find what they have in common. The slow burn is done so wonderfully.
Sepora is a strong female character who makes decisions based on what is best for her. She doesn’t whine and she doesn’t waffle. She knows what she needs to do and she does it. I also appreciated that Tarik is a strong male, but he has a bit of a sensitive side.
After the initial confusion, this book sucked me in. I feel immediately back into the world and loved each of the characters.
What Inspired My Look
From the moment that Sepora’s eyes were described as silver (something that is a result of her being a Forger), I knew I wanted to create a look with silver eyeshadow. Her makeup is also described (and shown on the cover) as being artistic and elaborate. Since the fun eyeliner shapes were also common in ancient Egypt, I was inspired to incorporate those elements into my look. I also added just a hint of blue in my eyeliner on the bottom lash line as blue is the color of Theoria. For my hair, I made a crown braid as the Sepora is always wearing braids.
My look is definitely a toned down version of what Sepora is wearing on the cover. I wanted to do something that was a bit easier to recreate. I also didn't want to create a copy-cat look, but you can build on what I did as much as you like! I also picked a red-orange lip because if I were to be a princess I would pick a red as my power color. It is also the color of the Serubelan country, so I thought it was a fun way to tie it in.
I created my look with Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon in Charcoal Chrome, L’oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Silver Sky, NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Black (for my eyebrows), Eyeko London Fat Liquid Eyeliner in Black, Sumita Beauty Eyeliner in Midnight Blue, and Top Shop Lipstick in Rio Rio.
The beauty style of the characters in this book is very ornate. The King is always mentioned as being decorated in gold paint while Sepora is decorated in silver. If you are looking to create a Nemesis inspired look, I recommend using those colors. Have fun with your designs around your eye! They are meant to be unique to your personality. I really ended up loving this look! If I end up with a reason to pull it back out for Halloween I definitely will be!
I cannot wait until book two comes out! I will admit I was a bit hesitant to read this book as I was a bit put off by the cover and the description, but it blew me away! The characters are wonderfully thought out and so three dimensional. The story is complex but still easy to follow along. I have some ideas as to where it’s going to go, but I can’t wait to see what actually happens. I would recommend this book to (obviously) fans of fantasy, but also to those who have only ever dabbled in fantasy or are looking to try it for the first time. It doesn’t come across as over the top fantasy, which I think is why I enjoyed it so much. I am not personally a huge fantasy reader, but this was just the perfect balance.
The publisher is generously offering a giveaway of a $25 Ulta gift card and a finished copy of Nemesis! If you are a book and beauty lover like me, this is one not to pass up.
You must be 18 years or older to enter and reside in the US in order to enter this giveaway. The giveaway will be closed at 12 AM CST on Saturday October 1st 2016.
In addition to the above giveaway, the winner will be entered to win one of two book tour-wide prizes including an Egyptian bib collar necklace and a silver Serpen (a snake like creature with wings) armband.
Good luck everyone!