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Empire of Light

(Voyance #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Damian Nettoyer is the Empire’s go-to gun. He kills whoever they want him to kill. In exchange, he and his rag-tag gang of crooks get to live, and Damian’s psychokinetic partner and lover, Aris, isn’t issued a one-way ticket to an Empire-sanctioned lobotomy.

Then Damian’s latest mark, a suave revolutionary named Raeyn, kicks his ass and demands his help. The first item on
Published February 25th 2019 by NineStar Press (first published February 13th 2019)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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“Quiet moments? I don't know them”
Empire of Light, probably

The author says they write "queerness with a chance of explosion" and - for this book at least - that's such an understatement. This is probably the most frenzied book I've ever read.

3.5 stars.

Empire of Light is the first book in a very queer futuristic sci-fantasy series. This first book felt like a fast-paced dystopian focused on a m/m/m love triangle to me, but I think that as the series goes on, "dystopian" could become a
Alex Harrow
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Spoilers: I wrote this, so I MAY be just a tad biased.

But I wanted to use this to post content warnings for Empire of Light here:

Content warnings for Empire of Light include:

This book contains graphic violence (including shootings, beatings, tasing, mild gore, depictions of a hanging, and an execution by burning), explicit sexual content (including mentions of sex work, a sexual relationship that begins in a negotiated contract for sexual services, and on- and off-page descriptions of
34th book of 2019.

What a wild ride!!!
Full of action, intrigue, betrayal, assassinations, love, friendship, loyalty and magic.
Set in the future. It's kinda dystopian and kinda sci-fi and part fantasy, part love-triangle, but then so not triangle.
This book does not fit into a box, into a genre and by the looks of it, neither does the author.

The story is told through Damian's eyes, a thieving gun for hire in the Empire (consists of the whole earth under one government, but lo and behold- they are
Post apocalyptic / dystopian. Queer inclusive. Sci-fi fantasy.

Oh, and also action and intrigue with a sprinkling of romance.

As you can see, it's hard to describe this story. However, the characters were easy to fall for. I immediately felt an emotional pull towards Damian, Aris, and Raeyn. I enjoyed the varied side characters, from the funny teenage sidekick, to the blind but all seeing gang boss, to the femdom Lara. Even non-binary Cora had a spotlight.

I came away from it thinking how
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the concept of the book and I really liked the characters. But it got confusing with what was going on. And who was with who etc.
JT Moore
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like sci/fi full of action, political intrigue and intense character relationships, read this book.
It takes place in a near future mess of a world that's a few steps towards where we are currently heading. Where the difference between the haves and the have-nots is a yawning chasm. The diverse cast of characters will have you cheering one moment and cursing the next with the choices they make. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see where these characters take me in their
R.R. Campbell
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gritty dystopian thriller wherein every page packs a punch, Alex Harrow's Empire of Light deftly balances a dynamic character set and a world to which readers feel as though they immediately belong. With twists aplenty, Harrow keeps readers on their toes as their cast is kept doing the same by unrelenting, ever-shifting threats. Empire of Light is a strong start to what's sure to be a breathtaking series.
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

actual rating: 2.5

This was an okay book and I enjoyed parts of it, but for whatever reason it just never really clicked for me. I think part of is that I often find sci-fi difficult to get into and the plot moved incredibly fast so I never felt like I actually knew what was going on. With all the focus on action and plot, the characters seemed a bit two dimensional to me and a lot of their actions didn't make sense to me [the ending I thought was
This was hands-down the best book I’ve read so far this year. This book is like if you took firefly made it super dark added some fucked up magic, political intrigue and then made everything queer. There were so many small narrative choices that really made this book stand out and stopped it from being too heavy. The characters were incredible and varied and had such depth. The interpersonal relationships were unparalleled and kept you reading and guessing until the very end. Honestly this book ...more
Corinne Sparks
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Woah there Nellie! This book is mile a minute! Those who enjoy a more sedate pace through the galaxy look elsewhere, because this wild ride gallops through scenes in a blur. Whilst it's certainly not boring, I sometimes would have liked a little more time in scenes before the characters rushed off to do something else!
The focus is definitely on action.
It felt classic (if rushed) space opera, with convulsed lines of plotting and backstabbing and all the intrigue of a medieval fantasy series -
Natalie panda eyes
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Received from Netgalley. I loved it but don’t think I could go through that again. From broken pasts to fragile futures, Damian has a small group he’d do anything to protect. I liked the shadows, their little makeshift family. Not too keen on Aris but I did like Raeyn with his ‘darling’ drawl. I liked how everything played out in the end but the rollercoaster had more than enough surprises. Felt a bit like a sci-fi wild west. Contains death, romance, a little smut and plenty of guns.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alex Harrow's Empire of Light captured me on page one. Damien, Aris, and Raeyn made me laugh, gave me thrills, and wrung my heart.

Damien, Aris, and the rest of the crew make a pretty good living smuggling and carrying out contract hits in their dystopian city. Shadow, their grounded spaceship home, has plenty of hidden spaces to conceal smuggled goods. The one thing they can't conceal is Aris' Voyance. This telekinetic power morphs at need and consumes its user. People with the Voyance don't
Tash McAdam
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed me from the first chapter and wouldn’t let go. Fast paced action is my absolute fave, and I felt like I was holding my breath for the majority of this read! Event after event spirals into twists and reveals, keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The writing was beautiful, there were moments I slowed down and sat with the prose, which shone in the intimate scenes and the writing of injury and trauma (something that I’m very particular about, and thought Harrow handled masterfully).
Empire of Light by Alex Harrow

5 of 5 stars

This review was originally posted on

I received an eARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.

REP: The main character is a Person of Color (POC), gay, and demisexual. One of his love interests is pan, and the other is pan, polyam, kinky, and a sex worker. They are all three amazing beans that I love with my whole heart. Supporting characters include a badass old lady who’s blind and a WOC, a whole variety of gender
L.B. Vigne
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I definitely recommend this book for anybody whose in to queer scifi. It was a bit heavy on the scifi aspect for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it regardless. I immediately fell in love with Aris and found him very likable; also there’s quite a few dark themes in here such as murder, drug use, and cursing. But as somebody who likes my queer romance a bit more gritty, all it did was add to the story and make it more realistic.
I enjoyed my read, and the naughty bits ;) There was a lot of emotion at
Joyfully Jay
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elizabeth
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

So much of this story is plot driven that I don’t feel comfortable going into any real detail about who does what to who, who betrays who, who ends up being the bad guy or the good guy — not that there are any good guys or bad guys in this book as much as … well, guys. No one is white, no one is black, and try not to get too attached to the characters because there is a great deal of death, betrayal, and pain in this story. And the true heart of it is the
Emily (moonlight&moths)
Rep: gay, brown mc, pansexual li, gay li, lesbian sc,

I wasn't a huge fan of this mainly because of the weird pacing and odd lack of character development. The story felt choppy at best, with uneven transitions between the action scenes. The character relationships were underdeveloped, so any emotional scenes lacked the gravity necessary to make me feel them. Damian and Raeyn's relationship was fun until it was revealed that [redacted] and suddenly there's all these weird undertones of jealousy
DNF @ ~25%

This isn't a bad book, but it's just not for me. I may try to come back to it in the future--for now, though, it's a DNF.

Content Warnings (for what I read & from the pub's website):
graphic violence (including shootings, beatings, tasing, mild gore, depictions of a hanging, and an execution by burning), explicit sexual content (including mentions of sex work, a sexual relationship that begins in a negotiated contract for sexual services, and on- and off-page descriptions of
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A strong voice, awesome action, interesting character dynamics, fast plot, and a fun writing style makes this sci-fi adventure a very enjoyable read! I loved the world-building, the intensity of the stakes, and the protagonist who was just a joy to follow - even as physically battered as he got! I also enjoyed his relationships with other characters, including the 'found family' vibe with his Shadows crew. It's a book
K.F. Silver
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Romance. Queerness. Explosions.

With an atmosphere reminiscent of Joss Whedon's FIREFLY, and a cast of characters as diverse as they are complex, Empire of Light is a strong opening in the Voyance series. Set in a future that is a brutal projection of our current times, the story follows Damian as he struggles to keep his found family safe, fed, and paid. And his lover, Aris, out of the hands of a government hell bent on eradicating those gifted (or cursed) with the Voyance.

The author does an
Sara Codair
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
No shortage of explosions!

It took me a little time to really get immersed in this novel, but once I did? I had to stay awake until I finished it, even if that meant not going to bed until after 2:30 a.m. There were some missing pieces from the world building, and a few too many characters died for my taste, but the plot kept me on the edge of my seat, and I was rooting for Damian and Raeyn for the last half of the book. I don't usually like love triangles, but I was okay with this one. Harrow
Dec 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Sometimes less is more. This is one of those times. Ignoring the gratuitous use of the word 'queer,' a slur used primarily to belittle and demean gay men (regardless of what your 'friendly' LGBT activist has told you), and ignoring the yet another bisexual MM addition to the catalogue, what seals this as a no-way-no-how for me is the cheating--the bisexual cheating. It's a difficult trope to successfully pull off without coming across as nauseatingly disgusting and I feel this book fails to ...more
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

Buckle up and hold on tight, you’re in for one hell of a wild ride with “Empire of Light”. And don’t forget the hard hats and bullet proof vests! Oh, and do take a look at the trigger warnings on the publisher’s website, there’s a lot of violence and other stuff going on.

Usually it’s a bad sign when a book makes me wince. That means the writing is so bad, it physically hurts. But here I was wincing in sympathy with poor Damian, who’s constantly getting
Nov 30, 2019 marked it as dnf
I'm gonna DNF this at 34% but only for now. I was not expecting this to be so dark and also so fast-paced and it's not what I need right now but I will probably go back to it when I'm in the right mood for it because I like some stuff in this a lot. Anyway, just in need of something softer at the moment.
A.D. Lawless
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must read. Empire of light was everything I could ask for in a dystopian novel. There was tons of fast paced action, mystery, danger and a romance that broke my heart and pieced it back together. I loved the MC, and his story was unforgettable.
Chelsies Crazy4Books
I enjoyed Damians snarky narrative, but I never got super attached to him despite his tragic back story. I loved how inclusive and diverse this book was, but I wasnt a fan of the main male/male romance. I wish the story only focused on the enemies to lovers romance instead. I just didnt like Aris all that much, but Raeyn did eventually grow on me. As for Jay, she was my favorite character and I wish we got more of her. I also really liked their old blind leader Iltis, but the other members of ...more
Ceillie Simkiss
very queer, very sweary, very full of feels.

Read my full review here!
I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Damien is a guy trying to survive by making the hard choices. He's loyal and will do anything for the family that's been cobbled together in this dystopian future, especially his lover Aris, which puts him right between a rock and a hard place. He's working as an assassin for the Watch, the police force of the Empire of Consolidated Nations, run by Commander Faelle Valyr. The story is set in Helos, previously New York before the Wars of 2090. Everyone is corrupt.
SARA  ~ ☁️ ~
To start off, huge kudos to the author for making the trigger warnings really clear in this book!

Trigger warnings: graphic violence (including shootings, beatings, tasing, mild gore, depictions of a hanging, and an execution by burning), explicit sexual content (including mentions of sex work, a sexual relationship that begins in a negotiated contract for sexual services, and on- and off-page descriptions of explicit sexual situations involving bondage, control, mild pain play, and
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a hell of a book. A great sci-fi action story. Damian couldn't seem to catch a break in this story no matter what he did. And I couldn't put the book down to see how he would get through the next set of trials that were thrown against him.
Damian has been asked to do a job. He's kind of like the CIA. He works for this particular government but if he's caught, they don't know him kind of thing. He's been sent to take out someone, only the someone turns it around on him. Raeyn, who Damian
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Alex Harrow is a queer and nonbinary science fiction and fantasy author. Alex' pronouns are they/them. When not writing queerness with a chance of explosions, Alex is a high school English teacher, waging epic battles against comma splices, misused apostrophes, and anyone under the delusion that the singular 'they' is grammatically incorrect.

A German immigrant, Alex has always been drawn to