Review: Empire of Light by Alex Harrow

When I heard that Empire of Light was described as “sweary, queer Firefly” I knew it was going to be up my alley. And I was right!

Empire of Light CoverDamian 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 the new agenda: take out Damian’s old boss—or Raeyn will take out Damian’s crew.

To protect his friends and save his own skin, Damian teams up with Raeyn to make his revolution work. As the revolution gains traction, Damian gets way too close to Raeyn, torn between the need to shoot him one moment and kiss him the next. But Aris slips further away from Damian, and as Aris’ control over his powers crumbles, the Watch catches on.

With the Empire, Damian had two policies: shoot first and don’t ask questions. But to save the guy he loves, he’ll set the world on fire. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I received an eARC of Empire of Light from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Alex Harrow and I are also mutuals on Twitter.

Per the author, Empire of Light needs trigger warnings for 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 Dominant/submissive dynamics), trauma (including allusion to past physical and sexual abuse, and a depiction of a panic attack), deaths of supporting characters (including a young teen, mentions and depiction of assisted suicide, and one queer character who is a person of color), as well as substance abuse (alcohol, smoking, drugs, and a mention of an overdose).

The entirety of Empire of Light is focused on found family and protecting the ones you love. As you’ll know, I am a huge fan of found families in fiction and in reality. Harrow did a great job at making this family feel real with complicated interpersonal relationships that will break your heart. I do wish we had gotten to know a few of the family members more, but Harrow makes the reader feel like they’re a part of the family.

The action scenes are beautifully written and the main plot line is complex enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It will leave you wondering.

I really enjoyed Empire of Light and I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequels.You can pick up a copy on Amazon.


Title: Empire of Light

Series: Voyance #1

Author: Alex Harrow

Publisher: Ninestar Press

Length: 291 Pages

Release Date: February 13, 2019

Rating: Highly Recommended

Genre: Science Fantasy

Representation: nonbinary author, nonbinary side characters, gay main character, blind secondary character, bi/pan main character,


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