After The Crown by K.B. Wagers
The adrenaline-fueled, Star Wars-style sequel to Behind the Throne, a new space adventure series from author K.B. Wagers.
Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule.
When peace talks turn violent and Hail realizes she’s been betrayed, she must rely on her old gunrunning ways to get out of trouble. With help from an old boss and some surprising new allies, she must risk everything to save her world.
The Indranan War
Behind the Throne
After the Crown
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: well I had both a party and book club so there was beer, hard seltzers, normal lemonade (delightful – Linz put ginger in it!) And then plenty of wine. As I do.
Spoiler-free Overview: Hail has managed to outlive the attempt to overthrow her but now knows theres a bugger plot to oust her. Theres a lot of pretty boring political things in the first half and then theres another attempt to oust her and shit goes fucking down!
Spoiler-free Thoughts: i had texted Sam thinking about DNF’ing this book aboit 50% in. I really enjoyed the first book but it felt like so much of what I loved there was missing. Luckily I gave it another few pages because wow did things pick up. The second half of this book is nonstop and has some huge emotional payoffs. I also so appreciate the fact that there are obvious losses. Look theres one character in the first book that followed the Walking Dead theory of characters only needing personality in the episode in which they die. But this book does a pretty good job of making the stakes obvious and there are major impacts from decisions made.
Characters: Hail is still a badass and manages to have some really beautiful moments of fragility. I still think there are a hell of a lot of dudes for a book about a matriarchal empire. But I did enjoy how you could really get a grasp for certain characters. Some of Hail gun-running friends show up (FUCKING FINALLY) and the relationships between them are immediately clear and fulfilling. Emmory and Zin are still around and fun.
Plot: The first half is all political machinations. Endless meetings where maybe chess pieces are moved into place. I understand the value of chapters like that but goddamn. The second half delves a little more into Hails past which humanizes her a little bit more. I do so enjoy a space adventure. We got to meet a bunch of different characyers from all over before an appropriately badass fight. It was a ton of fun to finally see Hail in her element.
Writing Style: fanfuckingtastic in that the first half was endlessly frustrating in that there was nothing most of the main characters could do to change anything. Ugh.
World Building: this was fine. We did finally get to see more of the universe including some of Hails prior contacts. I still wozh there was mpre. There was some information about someone who carries the memories of their ancestors but the weifht it was given seemed odd for how little it seemed to matter later. Also odd considering they are the only really fantastical thing to happen.
What to pair it with: A shot of tequila when properly paired with a lime and salt. The initial shot isnt exactly pleasant but once you add those final parts the ending is kind of what you were looking for.