The cover of The Empyrean by Katherine Franklin

Space opera The Empyrean is Katherine Franklin’s debut novel, launched on Kickstarter (and fully funded within 26 hours!).

Thank you so much to Katherine for sending me an ARC for The Empyrean in return for an honest review.

The cover of The Empyrean is absolutely gorgeous and I was really excited to read this one! I also interviewed Katherine earlier this month about The Empyrean and her writing process (and more), check it out here.

The Empyrean is exclusively available to pre-order through the Kickstarter campaign — the campaign finishes on 25th November and just £7 gets you a digital copy!

My review

The Empyrean had me hooked from the first chapter! It’s brilliantly written, full of exciting plot twists and with memorable characters that kept me engaged throughout the book.

The world that Katherine has created is vast and full of life. In The Empyrean, emotions are powerful energy that can be used to create weapons, from creating fires to large scale destruction of planets. The Protectorate forbids emotions, with inhibitors used to stop people from feeling anything. This isn’t something I’ve come across before and I really liked the idea — it’s great to come across something fresh and unique!

I also loved the characters. The relationships between Palia, Ferrash and Bek are a big part of the book and I really enjoyed reading how they get to know each other, grow as a team, and learn to trust one another. It’s really interesting to read Ferrash’s conflict around having emotions and whether he should use inhibitors, after many years of not having feelings.

I especially liked Palia. She changes the most throughout the book and I really enjoyed her journey! At the very start of the book, Palia loses her son, and Katherine writes about grief in a really sensitive and realistic way. I especially loved this section:

‘Where’s Derren?’ he asked.

Palia closed her eyes when the question came. She had been wishing it wouldn’t. Hoping it wouldn’t. But now it was here, and she wanted to shut the world out, to turn it to pitch and pretend that existence was just a field of never-ending nothingness. But the words echoed in her head. She couldn’t ignore them.

‘He’s dead,’ she said. And just like that, a dam burst within her. It wasn’t an explosive release — just a calm collapse of something that should have toppled long ago.

‘He’s dead,’ she repeated. ‘He’s gone.’

Katherine is an exciting new voice in sci-fi. I loved The Empyrean — it feels fresh and new, with lots of unique ideas. I’m excited to see what else she has in store for Palia, Ferrash and Bek, and the universe she’s created here!

The blurb for The Empyrean

Emotion is a weapon. Harnessing its power could destroy worlds.

Palia’s emotions are in turmoil. After watching her son succumb to Empyrean fire, she barely escapes the same fate. Guilt ridden and alone, she will not stop until his killer is brought to justice.

The Protectorate forbids Ferrash to have emotions. That suits him, since he can’t avoid the people who control the Empyrean. Making this sacrifice prevents them from hijacking his feelings and using them as a weapon against him.

When Ferrash spots Palia’s ship venting atmosphere, he is forced to save her. Having an enemy from the Hegemony on board could see him accused of treason. But when the Empyrean reveals its potential as a destroyer of worlds and Palia’s link to it, Ferrash knows he can’t let her leave.

With billions at risk of succumbing to the Empyrean weapon, can the enemies join forces and prevent the same fate that killed Palia’s son?

Katherine FranklinAbout the author, Katherine Franklin

Katherine Franklin writes science fiction and fantasy when she isn’t writing code, and is preparing The Empyrean, the first book in her debut space-opera trilogy, for publication in early 2022. She spends the rest of her free time on a collection of hobbies, one of which is painting the small mountain of miniatures occupying her cupboards. Only martial arts and her horse-sized dog succeed in dragging her away from her desk.

You can find out more about Katherine on her website, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates about The Empyrean.

And of course, don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter campaign for The Empyrean — the campaign finishes on 25th November and just £7 gets you a digital copy!

The Empyrean on Kickstarter - fully funded in just 26 hours!