As a huge fan of The Keeper of Night, I had the highest hopes for The Empress of Time. And Kylie Lee Baker smashed through them. It’s a heartfelt, emotional, and action packed sequel. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami Ren Scarborough is no longer the girl who was chased out of England—she is the Goddess of Death ruling Japan’s underworld. But her problems have never been greater. Her Shinigami see her as a foreigner on the throne. Her brother, Neven, is gone, lost in the deep darkness. And her fiancé, Hiro, has been killed by her own hand.
Then Ren receives the most troubling news yet—Reapers have been spotted in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time before Ivy, now Britain’s Death Goddess, comes to claim her revenge.
Ren’s last hope is to appeal to the god of storms and seas, who can turn the tides to send Ivy’s ship away from Japan’s shores. But he’ll help Ren only if she finds a sword lost thousands of years ago—an impossible demand.
Together with the moon god Tsukuyomi, who shares an uncanny resemblance to his brother Hiro, Ren ventures across the country in a race against time. As her journey thrusts her into the middle of scheming gods and dangerous Yokai demons, Ren will have to learn who she can truly trust—and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.
I will always love Ren. I love me a good unapologetic main character who would sacrifice anything for what she cares about. And what Ren loves above all else is her brother. In The Empress of Time it feels like no time has passed. Up against enemies from her past, but with more powers, Ren is forced to figure out who she wants to be. While she might have authority now, what does it even mean if she doesn’t have respect, loyalty, or the ones she loves?
The Empress of Time becomes a book which forces Ren to figure out what kind of leader – and person – she wants to be. These character journeys are my absolute favorite. I think we often think of having power as the end goal. The product of our quest. But in reality it’s also about keeping it, about what we do with it once we have it. Predictably so, I loved the bond between Ren and Neven. It tugged at every available heart string.
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But what I loved even more so was witnessing Ren’s character journey. Still contending with the ways the world tries to tell her she’s an Outsider. Too foreign to be a death goddess or even just out of place. My heart ached for her, but it forces her to establish who she is independent of their expectations and doubts. If you loved the first, this is an automatic must read. But if you also love the idea of a series about identity, family, love, and power – pick this duology up! Find The Empress of Time on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, & The Book Depository.