The Emerald Princess

Fiction - Science Fiction
271 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

J. D. is fascinated by the liminal spaces within the broad human experience, and believes science fiction is the perfect medium to explore those spaces. His work focuses on characters who feel they live "in-between" worlds. The Blue Jewel (2019), his debut novel, is a classic coming-of-age sci-fi adventure. The Emerald Princess (2021) is a sci-fi noir thriller set in the same universe as The Blue Jewel, but about a generation after. His third novel, Bill's Bytes, is a modern-day buddy road trip adventure (expected release winter of 2022).

J. D., his artist-illustrator wife Corina, and their young family love life in Tucson, Arizona. They enjoy reading, doodling, and playing guitar. Their house is full of books, quiet reading spaces, a couple napping Russian Blue cats, and two rambunctious toddlers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Emerald Princess is a work of fiction in the science fiction and thriller subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author J. D. Richards. The book follows out of work pilot Ann Raymond after she gets hired to recover stolen artwork and return it to its rightful owner. This simple task quickly becomes complicated after carrying one of the statues makes Ann a target for both the law and the lawless and she has to fight to survive whilst trying to understand the mythology behind the statue and what it means for her and people like her.

This book continues the important science fiction tradition of using gripping storytelling about fantastical visions of the world we know in order to shine a light on an issue affecting us in the world today; with Ann’s status as a half-alien restricting her rights in this world but also stopping her from leaving for another one provoking some excellent discussion on modern immigration and how we treat people who don’t neatly fit into the simple boxes we understand. Author J. D. Richards has an excellent sense of prose that he utilizes to send Ann on an entertaining rollercoaster of an adventure in the world of future Earth. The worldbuilding was just as excellent, with a dynamic and nuanced world in which the action takes place serving as an outstanding backdrop for the adventure. Overall, The Emerald Princess hooks readers from page one before taking them on a wild journey through a world of discrimination and struggling to survive.

Pikasho Deka

The Emerald Princess is a neo-noir sci-fi thriller by J.D. Richards. Ann Raymond is a half-human, half-Siltekan shuttle pilot and navigator desperate to get her Citizenship Card. Fired by her current employer after destroying her shuttle while on duty, Ann finds herself approached by a mysterious art collector who offers her a chance to get a Citizenship Card in exchange for recovering some art looted from the other worlds and stored on Earth. Running low on points, Ann hits a remote warehouse where she stumbles upon the statue of a green lady called The Emerald Princess. But the statue turns out to be a woman named Rhiannon, who is determined to exact revenge upon those who wronged her. With cops, her former colleagues, and an unstable woman involved, can Ann get herself out of this mess?

If you're a fan of dystopian sci-fi thrillers, The Emerald Princess is just the book for you. The plot moves at a blistering pace, taking twists and turns that you never see coming. J.D. Richards drops the reader in the middle of things from the start and tells a gripping tale filled with suspense, mystery, intrigue, and plenty of action that will have you on the edge of your seat until the end. The characters are well-developed, with distinct traits to their personalities that set them apart. Ann is a tenacious woman who never backs down from any challenge, even in the face of overwhelming odds, and it makes her the perfect heroine for the narrative. Readers who love sci-fi or thrillers in dystopian settings will have a blast with this one.

Sadiyah Bhamjee

Cartographer Ann Raymond suddenly finds herself desperately out of work and takes a lucrative, one-off job stealing stolen art. But Ann finds out that some things are just too good to be true when one of the art pieces is more than it seems. Her situation becomes even more dire when the mob, the cops, and even past colleagues start hunting her down. Is the myth of the Emerald Princess, a myth known around the entire universe, real? Or is it just a bedtime story? Can Ann solve the puzzle as she fights to survive or are some things just better left untouched? J. D. Richards beautifully explores the human experience in this sci-fi noir thriller. If you love sci-fi or thrillers, you’ll love The Emerald Princess.

I loved the intriguing illustrations before each chapter. Ann is written beautifully! Ann is flawed, as we all are, and deals with an unjust society, but uses what she has to overcome what life throws at her. I felt her frustration as each step she takes is hindered by her ‘Mixie’ status. J. D. Richards has created clever terminology that gives The Emerald Princess wonderful attention to detail and makes it all the more entertaining to read. The blasters, aircraft, and other sci-fi technology are seamlessly written into the novel, without long technical descriptions, which made it exciting to read. The Emerald Princess is fast-paced and action-packed exactly when it should be and thought-provoking at just the right times. I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

Vincent Dublado

The Emerald Princess by J. D. Richards is an astounding tale of a half-human, half-alien named Ann Raymond. A pilot and cartographer, she works for a surveying company and is often given high-risk assignments. Set in a distant future where earthlings and aliens live together, Earth has become a colony of an intergalactic alien empire. While traversing a hostile route, she has to make an emergency crash-landing after her meteor shuttle is attacked by a raiding party. She manages to fight off her attackers but is fired from her job for her ship’s damage. In her search for a new gig, a potential job opportunity suddenly finds her. The task involves retrieving a stash of artwork that this new employer has been tracking for quite some time. It’s a dirty job, as art thieves tend to fortify their business ventures with violence. Among the looted art in question is The Emerald Princess, a piece of art with a background story, and Ann will find herself competing with everyone else, even the cops and her co-workers, for its possession.

Every now and then I crave a good adventure story in the speculative fiction genre. I try to filter the bad ones and sometimes when I’m lucky, I find a story where the first page immediately hooks me to read the whole book. This is the effect that The Emerald Princess had on me. You are drawn to the main protagonist and your heart leaps up. There are only good things I can say about this work. J.D. Richards knows how to keep you engaged, and I am pleased with the first-person POV that allows you to inhabit Ann’s full persona and see things from her perspective. The action scenes are well-paced and don’t revel in excessive violence. This has a classic detective story feel to it that goes well with its futuristic setting. Fans of speculative fiction with a taste for sleuth stories will have a blast reading this book.

Rabia Tanveer

The Emerald Princess by J. D. Richards is a unique approach to a futuristic story where aliens and humans coexist, and our protagonist is just what the story needs to be phenomenal. Set in the future where Earth is now an alien empire, the aliens (Siltekans) and humans live together. The protagonist Ann Raymond is half-human and half-alien. Being mixed race, Ann never found a place where she belonged. A cartographer and pilot by profession, Ann is out of a job and desperate. So, when a stranger named Kooning offers her a job to recover stolen art, Ann accepts it. With the promise of getting a citizen card, Ann is excited, to say the least. One of the pieces she needs to recover is called The Emerald Princess, and when Ann gets her hands on the statue, she quickly realizes that it is not simply a piece of art. Before she knows it, Ann has to fight for her life before she is engulfed by the danger.

I absolutely adore Ann and her reactions. I wish she took more control of the situation, but considering how she was miscommunicated, her reactions were valid and relatable. Author J. D. Richards creates opportunities for Ann to express her emotions and allows the reader to connect with her at times as well. The premise of The Emerald Princess is fantastic and exceptionally executed. There is hardly a flaw in the story, and you don’t even have the time to look for them in the first place. The story is packed with action from the very first scene when Ann has to fight off raiders. The narrative is rich with details, the descriptions are vivid, and the dialogues are fun. Anyone who loves high-pace, futuristic, and realistic stories will absolutely love this novel!