Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies, #1)” as Want to Read:
Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Empress of the World

(Battle Hall Davies #1)

by
3.74  ·  Rating details ·  12,627 ratings  ·  475 reviews
Nicola Lancaster is spending her summer at the Siegel Institute - a hothouse of smart, articulate, intense teenagers living like college students for eight weeks. Nic's had theatre friends and ochestra friends, but never just friend friends. And she's certainly never had a relationship.

But on the very first day, she falls in with Katrina the Manic Computer Chick, Isaac the
...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published May 26th 2003 by Speak (first published August 27th 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Empress of the World, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
willaful For me, it depicted playful teenage interactions in a way that was so much like my high school years, and which I rarely see in books. YMMV.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,627 ratings  ·  475 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies, #1)
Rad
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-and-liked, ya
I have no idea what Nic supposedly did wrong. Hell, I over-analyze all the time! What's wrong with it? NOTHING. She was just asking a damn question, Battle! Shut your damn mouth!

Sorry. Sometimes I become somewhat of an advocate for certain book characters.
Agatha Lund
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
As with pretty much everything I read, I found the ending to this a little unsatisfying, a little too contrived in too short a space, but the path to the ending was well worth it. Nicola, the narrator, is a sharp, funny, observant kid, even in her own confusion about her sexuality, and Battle is both a fantastic foil and a fantastic love affair for Nicola. The dynamics and the emotions in this one rang very true for me on all levels.

It pleased me to learn, just recently, that Sara Ryan has writt
...more
Mielle
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Empress of the world by Sara Ryan is a very moving meaningful story that deals with very touchy subjects. Such as love, friendship, and finding yourself. This book should have more exposed due to the fact that now a days teenagers have to deal with these kind of things more and more in todays life style and society which is so open and free to whatever. This country's youth should be more educated of these things.


Empress of the world is about two young girls and how they spent there summer at
...more
Mike
So. This is the second review in a row in which I did not have my thoughts completely together in the beginning of my writing it. Does this mean my opinions are getting more complex? Or does it mean that I'm getting bad at reviewing?

So, anyway, this was an overall cute, fun novel. It was one of the first to paint LGBT characters in a positive light, when these kind of novels were just starting to become more normal. I thought that I would have to remind myself constantly that parts of the novel
...more
Eli
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, lgbtq, young-adult
3.5 stars

I think I might be getting a little old for YA. I mean, I'm a young adult. But I'm not a Young Adult . So that's probably why I didn't like this as much as I may have a couple years ago.

The characters were rather bland and generic but still moderately likable. Also, pretty sure Battle Hall Davies was a precursor to John Green's "mysterious" female love interests.

The dialogue flowed well and it was at least interesting enough to make me read a majority of it in one sitting. I kept expec
...more
Tanya
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
There’s a hole in popular young adult fiction, specifically romance. I’m so tired of the typical boy girl-boy love story that is so pervasive in YA lit.

Where are the teen lgbt stories? Not the one where the hetero girl has the flamboyant, all-knowing, gay, male friend that helps her through her romantic crisis, but the one where the protagonist is experiencing their own crisis, with someone of the same sex. I’m not saying that these stories don’t exist (Will Grayson, Will Grayson / Blue is the
...more
rike
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
i really enjoyed nic as a character and have to say i could relate to her and her struggle with coming to terms with her bisexuality a lot.

however, i had a few problems with this book which is why it took me a while to get throught it.
1.) i honestly didn't like battle. might be because of the biased view we get of her but to me she seemed like the regular "mysterious girl with tragic past". The way she treats nic and how it is resolved in the end didn't make me root for them... which is what i
...more
Rachel
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
It was an enjoyable read, but it didn't have much of a plot. There really wasn't a whole lot going on in this one. It was interesting and was easy to sit and read almost cover to cover, but at the end I felt like nothing was ever accomplished.

There were a few story threads I was invested in which were just never followed up on or resolved. This was rather disappointing.
Stephen Arvidson
Author Sara Ryan deftly captures the sweetness and uncertainty of a young girl’s first love in her 2001 debut. Empress of the World celebrates adolescent romance and budding sexuality in all of its sticky, modern complexity.

While studying archeology at an academic summer camp, fifteen-year-old Nicola ‘Nic’ Lancaster becomes embroiled in an on-again, off-again romance with the implausibly named Battle Hall Davies, a beautiful North Carolinian wildflower with electric green eyes, blond hair, and a
...more
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
This book saved my life when I was a confused 16 year old bisexual in the library looking for validation. I'm really glad I got to reread it all these years later. It's certainly dated, but man did this book hit me right in the feels. 💕🏳️‍🌈
Liz
There's not one thing that makes this book good. It's a bunch of smaller things that I really liked that made it into a book I'd recommend.

Nicola, the main character, is a likable character and certainly relatable. She's knows she's not gay, she knows she's not straight, but she feels uncomfortable with the bisexual label. She gets bullied because of her relationship with the Battle. She has a lot of different interests and talents- theatre, music, art, a touch of science. She has friends but n
...more
Rachel Brown
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Two high school girls have a romance while they're taking college classes at a summer camp for gifted kids. The only way this could have possibly been more up my alley would have been if "gifted" was in the "Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" sense.

Nicola, amateur artist and aspiring archaeologist, narrates the book in first person, with occasional excerpts from her diary, also in first person but with a different typeface and no capitalization. This may sound annoying, but it's actu
...more
Acquafortis
May 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this book in nearly a day. It has won various prizes in young adults category and reading it I can understand why. If you are a teenage and looking for a romance suited for your age then definitely go for it.
I'm not teen aged any more but can realise the appeal that this book can have for this very delicate age group. It is simple and straight forward where everything is all or nothing.
Everything revolves around a particular event. Everything is Important. Yes there is tomorrow or the f
...more
Alicja
rating: 3/5

The plot reads basically like so many teen books/movies these days. Students at an academic summer camp spend the summer figuring out their futures and themselves. This is where Nicola meets Battle and a friendship develops that leads her to question her sexuality and her life.

Nicola is funny and witty as we enter her mind and navigate through finding her academic interests and romantic feelings for Battle. The story is short and easy to read. It is composed of an interesting mix of
...more
shana naomi
Jul 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer
so far i like it -- i was inspired after having read Bloom to try more YA, especially if they have good queer subplots or storylines. but all i found at first were the uber-boy ones, like Rainbow High. this feels more like a smart kid South of Nowhere so far.

now that i'm done: i liked it okay -- a nice unfolding of the story and teenage angst, a lot of kids who sounded like actual people and not marketing demographics. the end was kind of abrupt and overall just ended up feeling like a "one ti
...more
Caro
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A little while back, I was rummaging through Amazon to find lesbian teen novels and fell on Empress Of The World. I found the cover so beautifully poetic and evocative that I immediately bought it. The story is beautiful, the characters endearing and the story-telling wonderful! I searched for other novels written by Sara Ryan and realised that she had written a companion novel to Empress Of The World, The Rules For Hearts. This second book is different from the first and brings different themes ...more
Wren
This review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogs...



Nicola is taking a summer course in archaeology at the Siegel Institute, because she wants to make sure that archaeology is really a field she wants to go into. She expects that confirming her dream of becoming an archaeologist will be the focus of this summer, until she meets Battle.

Battle is beautiful, a minister's daughter, and soon captures Nicola's heart. While helping her new friends deal with their own issues, Nico
...more
Bridgette Davis
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot better than I anticipated. The summer college program is represented well and I think would make most kids want to attend one. I also like the lack of certainty in the characters - very believable. The plot moves really quick (a little too quick for me) but at the right pace for student readers who are likely to become board.

I read this book in one night & didn't really put it down! It's a great little love story and the sequel should be good.

Nic is a girl who I definitely i
...more
Emily (emilykatereads)
I didn't expect to be moved by this book, but I had higher hopes for it. It's always nice to see LGBT representation in books, but in this book, it did nothing but aggravate me. As a lesbian, I like being able to relate to characters but this book just frustrated me. People are always so fast to put labels on things, and this book was not an exception. It seemed most of the time was spent wondering whether Nic was straight or a lesbian. She liked Battle, she was a lesbian. She liked Issac, she w ...more
Kate
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
My favorite book ever! (So far, that is.)
As someone who would like to eventually study sexuality & gender identity, this was one of my first literary forays into the world of queer-&-questioning youth, which interest me particularly, as I am one myself.
Ryan's writing, especially her character description & development, is so good that I immediately picked up many of protagonist Nic's mannerisms & qualities, which I can see in myself still to this day.
All in all this is a beautiful story (& much
...more
Robin
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
What can I say, I actually really liked this young adult book. This book in particular, because it's a coming of age lesbian story.
If I had even a clue about this book when I was a pre-teen I wouldn't have been so confused growing up. Well maybe, I'd still be confused but atleast I'd have something other to read than Sweet Valley High.

I wouldn't be suprised if this book turned into a movie. hmmm, now there's an idea . . . . I better get that screeplay going.
Jen Steffens
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, and a great love story :)
Nicky
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of things from this book connected and resonated with me, a 22-year-old:

1. I'll start with the fact that Nic and I's names are similar, and the girl I've had a long-term crush on also has a name that starts with B. So yeah, I consider that a big deal to me.

2. Nic placed Battle on a pedestal (naming her the "Empress of the World") the same way I did to my crush.

3. Nic has an obssession with trying to analyze explain everything because of her nature as an aspiring archaeologist. I do a simi
...more
Stephanie A.
I was incredibly enchanted by the setting of a residential academic program on a college campus -- the beginning was so atmospheric I felt like I was there -- and at first all the characters seemed cool, but the magic gradually eroded as I noticed a) Katrina was awful and Isaac was dull and b) the writing seeming very, for lack of a better word, point-and-click; things would be thought or implied but then stated outright to make sure we didn't miss them.

And then the warp speed romance (see stat
...more
Kaitlyn Bubolz
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response

I liked this book a lot. Empress of the World was the first book I have ever read that was about LGBTQ people. It made me happy to see that this book existed. Before this book, I never read any book that had any other relationships than straight ones so that was really nice.

Plot Summary

A girl named Nicola, or Nic, went to a summer school camp for the summer. She met three friends. Her closest friend was named Battle. She and Battle fell in love at this gifted teaching cam
...more
Jas
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I liked this book a lot!! Empress of the World was an easy YA read that reminded me of what it was like being 16 and infatuated with a girl. The love the narrator and protagonist, Nic, and felt for her trying desperately to always make sense of things with words: her identity, her feelings for her friends, even trying to "figure out" other people. The way Ryan writes Nic's conflict with labeling her bisexuality and addressing others trying to make that decision for her. The way that Nic thinks t ...more
Taylor
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just remembered this book that introduced me to the concept of lesbians. Does this make up for how much I disliked Fun Home?
Hazmur
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 0july-20
This was such a sweet story, like to see f/f in this setting
Eivor Lein
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very cute!
Hannah
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review originally posted at Books Worth Remembering

I should probably start of by saying that I borrowed Empress of the World from my local library, although I had seen it in there previously. The first time I saw it was a good couple of years ago, after reading the blurb I instantly put it back – Why you may ask. Because in my younger and more vulnerable years I was an idiot. I didn’t read many ‘issue’ books, especially about sexuality because at 13, I was stupid and thought that by reading some
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kissing Kate
  • Keeping You a Secret
  • Annie on My Mind
  • Dare Truth or Promise
  • The Bermudez Triangle
  • Far from Xanadu
  • Almost Perfect
  • The Gravity Between Us
  • Huntress
  • I Can't Think Straight
  • grl2grl
  • Pages for You
  • Rage: A Love Story
  • Luna
  • Ash
  • Lies My Girlfriend Told Me
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
  • Ask the Passengers
See similar books…
179 followers
I write books and comics for teens and others. Reviews and star ratings make me anxious, but I'm reporting what I read here.

Other books in the series

Battle Hall Davies (2 books)
  • The Rules for Hearts (Battle Hall Davies, #2)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
9 likes · 6 comments
“Do you ever have the feeling that everybody's making everything up, all the time?” 3 likes
“Don't talk. Shut up and feel.” 3 likes
More quotes…