Novella Review: The Empress

Novella Review: The EmpressThe Empress by Karen Amanda Hooper
Series: Virtual Arcana #3
Also in this series: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers
Genres: Dystopian, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Starry Sky Publishing on January 15, 2015
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Kelsey Zellar would never intentionally endanger her family, but when her mother appears on the Empress card, Kelsey worries her involvement with the Arcana has led the Zellars down a perilous path.

Xander helps Kelsey change direction and continues to protect her from the government, gaining her trust and strengthening their connection, but Xander can't protect her from everything, and altering a path leads to severe consequences.
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Virtual Arcana: The Empress is filling the “Novella” category in the Full House Reading Challenge.

I cannot say enough good things about Karen Amanda Hooper’s new series Virtual Arcana. The Empress was another mind-bending installment that had me clamoring for answers. By the end, I felt thoroughly confused.

Confused in an excellent way, mind you. Hooper continues to heap weird scenarios on the reader with little explanation, making us feel a bit like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole.  We can now confidently say that not all is at it seems in the land of Equatia, and though we suspected that was true before, we know it with certainty now.

Fortunately for Kelsey and her misguided sister Keekee, hell hasn’t broken loose yet, but I suspect that when it does, it will be magnificent.

The government continues to keep a close watch on the sisters, reminding them how little freedom they truly have. If it weren’t for Kelsey’s guardian angel (Xander) helping her out of tight places, I feel certain she would have made a horrible misstep long ago and would now be paying the consequences.

The Empress finally gave us some Kelsey and Xander action, and they continue to be absolutely adorable. I’m beginning to worry that Xander is too good to be true, too confident, too perfect; there must be a flaw somewhere, either in him or in his seemingly airtight organization. We were so close to learning more about him as a person, but it looks like we’ll have to wait for the gritty details of his life until later. We also got to see more of Kelsey’s parents, and we are beginning to see that they too are tangled up in the dangerous web the government is weaving.

The Virtual Arcana series continues to be engaging sci-fi/dystopia with clever ideas and relatable characters. I read each installment in one sitting and then I can’t wait for the next. The Empress is an excellent addition to this wildly entertaining and romantic series.

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