Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Royal Trials (Last Gate of the Emperor #2)

Mbalia, Kwame and Makonnen, Joel. The Royal Trials (Last Gate of the Emperor #2)
July 19 2022 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Yared has finally solved the mysteries of his past in The Last Gate of the Emperor AND protected his country against the Werari, but now he's a little concerned about giving a speech at the opening ceremony for the Royal Trials. He's not quite used to having parents and so many royal advisors around to tell him what to do, since it was his Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa for so long. He's not used to being hidden and protected, even though being fitted with Radials, a digital protection system, is pretty cool. Things are heating up again, and when he and his parents head to the headquarters of the Intergalactic Union, Yared meets up with his cousin Balamba Ras, who is concerned about growing trouble on Old Earth. Before long, Yared and his friends Ibis and Fatima are heading to Amba fortress that guarded Axum's brain. When they find out there's been a pirate attack, Uncle Moti and Mesfina want to keep Yared safe, but he of course wants to strike out on his own. With the help of Jemal Ammanuel, whose mother works at the Amba station, will Yared be able to stay safe, save his country again, and give his speech without embarassing himself?
Strengths: There are so many excellent details about Yared's royal family, the history of the country, and the massive amounts of cool technology! There's a decided video game feel, with surveillance, different creatures, and exo suits, as well as nonstop action. We do see some of Yared's difficulties in trying to get to know his parents and feeling like he is no longer able to do whatever he wants, as he was able to do when it was just him and Uncle Moti. This would make a great summer blockbuster film with tons of special effects-- it would be the kind of movie you would watch, and then be completely disoriented when you left the theater and got out into the sun because you had become so immersed in the world. 
Weaknesses: This is the kind of science fiction fantasy that is perfect for readers who adore the genre and want extremely complicated world building and technology. I, on the other hand, suffer from Fantasy Amnesia, so struggled a bit with all of the details. 
What I really think: The first book has been hugely popular in my library and never makes it back to the shelves, so I will definitely be purchasing a copy for school. 

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