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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
In The Empyrean by Katherine Franklin, emotions not only can be hurt but also used as actual weapons. We all know how emotions can sometimes be used against us, but it takes on a far more serious shape in this fascinating sci-fi novel. Empyrean fire is an energy weapon made of emotions used by certain people with the "talent" for it. Governments even try to breed the trait into people by engineering specific bloodlines, while "normal" people usually are grown in labs. At the beginning of the story, Empyrean fire is the reason Palia's life is changed forever. After a catastrophic event, she is saved by Ferrash and Bek. They take her back to their home, which is enemy territory for Palia, even though at considerable risk to everyone, mainly because exposure to Empyrean fire can have severe side effects. When it becomes clear that there is danger at hand that nobody could ever have foreseen, big decisions need to be made.
The Empyrean by Katherine Franklin is the first book in the Galaxy of Exiles series. Interesting revelations occur regularly in this novel. It is a lengthy book, which is appropriate because the story is complex and would not have worked as a shorter piece. It's also nice to spend a few evenings with the same characters, getting to know them, and wondering what decisions they will make. The author seems to understand how "show, don't tell" works. In a story where emotion can be used as a weapon, you'd soon get tired of reading about someone feeling sad all the time. Here, however, you know how characters feel (or not feel) by how the author makes them act, move, think, and react. She's layered some of the scenes very well from a character's point of view. It was pleasant to read. I enjoyed the journey with these characters and found the world-building admirable. You can see that much thought and work has been put into this book!