The At Boundary’s Edge team has narrowed our original allocation down from 28 books to 7 “Quarterfinalists”, all of which we are now reading in full and scoring out of 10 points. The top three books will move forward as semifinalists. As always, this is my own review and reflects only my own individual opinion and score, not that of the team
As the first round winds down to a close in the next week, I’m back with ‘quarterfinalist’ review number 6 out of 7! I’m also absolutely ecstatic to say that I finally found a book that I personally believe has a chance of making the top ten. Empire Reborn is meticulously edited and the best presented, every character motivation makes sense, her ideas translate to paper 100% of the time, and it hits all the space opera first in a series checks. Again these are only my personal thoughts but I’d throw down for this book!
Let’s take a look at the book itself and then I’ll share the rest of my thoughts.
Bookish quick facts:
- Title: Empire Reborn
- Series: Taran Empire Saga #1 (Cadicle Universe #12)
- Author: A.K. DuBoff
- Publisher & Release: Self, March 2021
- Length: 388 pages (Kindle Length)
- Rating: 8/10 for SPSFC purposes (⭐⭐⭐⭐) and yes for space opera fans
Here’s the synopsis via Am*zon:
A forgotten enemy’s return reignites an ancient war.
Jason Sietinen lives in the shadow of greatness. He’s worked hard to become a TSS officer in his own right, but having war heroes for parents is hard to top.
When Jason is assigned to investigate a mysterious attack, he finds evidence of powerful transdimensional beings never before seen. Or so he thought.
Jason soon learns that critical information was lost through the millennia: Tarans had an ancient treaty with the aliens. Unfortunately, rogue actions by a shadow faction within the Empire just broke the peace.
With the future of the Empire hanging in the balance, Jason must find a way to unite the Taran worlds, including the lost colony of Earth, against the mounting threat. There’s just one problem: how do you fight an enemy you can’t see or touch?
The first thing you probably noticed is that this book is very deep in an already existing universe. Past events are referred to fairly frequently but the author also does a good job setting up this series on its own merit. All the big pieces are there to create something multifaceted and interesting going forward.
I believe in presentation and editing, both of which were accomplished near flawlessly here. I think I found one tiny grammatical typo and that is huge compared to the rest of our book allocation. Technical merit aside, space operas should have these big casts, big stakes, and big moral discussions, all of which DuBoff has here.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the slang (really, fok vs fuck and shite vs shit, etc, isn’t going to break any language barriers) but otherwise I have nothing else bad to say. It makes sense to have similar language roots between descendant cultures but I think that facet needed something…just a different approach. It didn’t affect the book though, plus she was consistent with it, and I got what she was trying to do. Not the biggest deal but that’s my only nitpick here.
Theme wise, she tackles some big sci-fi tropes and moral dilemmas. There’s multiple instances of first contact, force vs diplomacy, the integration of new government, interdimensional cause and effect, and a lot more. I generally overall just like what she did her even if it ultimately wasn’t the most exciting read.
Oh heck, did I mention telekinesis as a weapon? The book didn’t need the Men In Black tie-in but it was there, and I believe it’s going to come into play moving forward. There’s a whole idea of this telekinesis tying into an upper dimension that I’m waiting to learn more about too. Also planet sized space leviathans. Realistic characters. Big ideas that suit this genre well.
TLDR & Overall: this has all the good space opera elements and is presented as well as the average trad pub book. I hope I get time to read more of DuBoff’s books, I did already download the next one for when time permits. I also truly hope we see this one in round two 😅
Thanks for checking out my book review of Empire Reborn by A K. DuBoff. I was provided a free copy for judging purposes although found it on, and used Kindle Unlimited. As always, all thoughts are my own 🚀