4 out of 4 stars
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Rulers of the Galaxy by Tayma Tameem is the story of Salarin, a woman with elven features who finds herself in the middle of a brutal invasion, with no memory of her past. With nothing but her sword and the instinct to protect the newborn child who shares her fate, Salarin embarks on a dangerous and fantastical journey through space. With the help of Bosco, a mysterious young raider, she races against time to find the child's family and her own identity among the chaos and destruction of a conflict which spans the entire galaxy.
My first impression of the book's narrative was not the best, admittedly. I felt like the description was overwhelming in its detail, with the fight scene between Salarin and the Imperial forces in chapter 1 feeling drawn-out and lacking suspense. As I continued reading, the description remained a point of contention for the first few chapters. The amount of exposition given fluctuated between parts and chapters, sometimes detailing a scene in excruciating detail, other times providing barely enough information to flesh out a setting. The first 2 chapters were especially affected by this. By chapter 4, as the scale of the conflict began to grow, the pacing and writing style grew better as well. From chapter 6 onward I had no further complaints about the writing and stylistic structures as they fit the large-scale military conflicts they illustrated like a glove.
Most of the times the characters of this work were admirably established and well fleshed-out. From time to time, however, characters would act outside of their established canon for no reason other than narrative need. In chapter 7 for example, when we see the fight from chapter 1 from the Imperial point of view, the highly efficient and well-trained Death Squad ruin their stealth mission by lugging grenades at a crowd of civilians, snickering amongst themselves like cartoon villains while doing so. I feel like the narrative of the story is too good to need this "I'm the bad guy" neon sign flashing above Imperial heads.
There is also a very jarring issue with the pacing regarding chapters 23 and 24. While I believe I understand the idea behind the positioning of chapter 24, the length and complexity of the chapter's contents make it feel like an unnecessary break from the climactic energy of chapter 23 rather than a way to keep the tensions high. It is a pity since it might make a casual reader less receptive to the impressive and complex scenes found in chapter 24.
Throughout the book the story is gripping and highly intricate. Salarin is a perfect main character for the setting and her journey, with its twists and turns, does a wonderful job at keeping the reader invested and eager to see what's next. The book is very well edited. Reading Rulers of the Galaxy was a very satisfying experience overall, despite the mentioned small number of hiccups, so my final rating is 4 out of 4 stars.
I believe this book is perfect for every reader who appreciates fantasy and futuristic settings, very well described and intricately developed grand-scale warfare and a superbly multi-dimensional female protagonist.
Rulers of the Galaxy
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