Also by Sara Ryan. This is her first novel. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.
Read it Forward Read it first. Battle Hall Davies is a beautiful blond dancer from North Carolina. She's everything Nic isn't.
Soon the two are friends - and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you're attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart? Paperback , pages. Published May 26th by Speak first published August 27th Battle Hall Davies 1.
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Lists with This Book. May 23, Rad rated it liked it Shelves: I have no idea what Nic supposedly did wrong. Hell, I over-analyze all the time! What's wrong with it? She was just asking a damn question, Battle!
Shut your damn mouth! Sometimes I become somewhat of an advocate for certain book characters. Aug 24, Agatha Donkar rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 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.
It pleased me to learn, just recently, that Sara Ryan has written a second novel about Battle; while Empress of the World is Nicola's story, it was ultimately Battle that I wanted to know more about. Apr 16, Mielle 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 Si Empress of the world by Sara Ryan is a very moving meaningful story that deals with very touchy subjects. Empress of the world is about two young girls and how they spent there summer at Siegal Summer Program for Gifted Youth.
Nicola Lancaster who is there to study her intrest for archaeology, finds another intrest in a beautiful blonde young lady.
There is other characters such as Katrina who is a computer geek, Issac the nice guy, and Kevin the kaid back composer. The group gets along right of the bat. But soon the connection for one other gets stronger especially with Nic and Battle who fall in love. It's filled with what love has to offer and shows how love can change people with it's bumpy ride, up's and down's and the true color of friendship0. Empress of the world is one of my favorite book's because I can relate to it so well.
I fell in love with my best friend that is a girl and I would of never guessed I would ever find myself in such a very strong friendship and connection. It was very confusing at times but it all worked out in the end. I stayed up for two days just so i can get to the end of this book the author had me hooked. This book is so inspiring it gives me a good feelings inside everytime I hear it's name.
It is defently hands down, a must read to confused teenagers trying to find themselves or find love. Feb 06, Mike rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 So. I thought that I would have to remind myself constantly that parts of the novel weren't cliched when the book first came out, and although there was a little of that, there was little enough that I wasn't really bothered. The writing was really good. Ryan's prose is descriptive and surprisingly atmospheric for a realistic fiction book that focuses on romance. For the most part, I bought that this was how Nic would speak - descriptive without ever being purple.
That being said, I did think that the 'field notes' written by Nic that were sprinkled throughout the novel were a bit unnecessary - I didn't really see much of a reason for Nic to be writing them, as it didn't fit her personality. They sometimes conveyed interesting ideas, but they mostly felt unnecessary. But speaking of Nic's personality, it was well-rounded and believable, as was Battle's.
Both characters felt a little too perfectly molded into their rolls more on that later , but that didn't stop them from feeling completely fleshed-out and real. Likewise, Katrina was a rather unique character, and very interesting. Issac was a bit underutilized, as he obviously had more personality than we were seeing, but he felt real in the few scenes he appeared in. Because that's basically what this is - wish-fulfillment for gay teenagers.
There's nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment as a concept - Parrotfish , for example, pulled it off almost flawlessly - but when it becomes everything in a story, it can often have unbelievable consequences. Here, the problem was the heroine Nic and her love interest Battle. First, Nic felt blatantly calculated so that gay teens could relate to her. She doesn't think she's pretty, but Ryan makes it clear that she actually is. She's stated to be shy and not to have many friends back home, but she makes four friends immediately upon coming to the stay-away camp where the story takes place.
She has a lot of interests that are traditionally 'geeky' theater tech, art, playing the viola , but nobody gave a fuck where she was. Incidentally, she seems to be incredibly good at all three - where she finds the time to do all that, I don't have a fucking clue. Do you see the problem? There was nothing about her that would make me think she was actually as friendless and lonely as she was stated to be, because Ryan doesn't want her audience to think that there's anything like that about them. You're supposed to insert herself into her and share her feelings, but it doesn't work, because her feelings are so blatantly manufactured for that actual purpose.
The only real flaw I could find in her - interior or exterior - was that she over-analyzed things which bit her in the ass believably and interestingly , and even that was solved for her in the end. Likewise, Battle was the perfect love interest. She didn't entirely have her shit together in terms of her relationship with her parents, which managed to keep her out of Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory, but damn, did she come close. She was a beautiful dancer, she was nice, and she was attracted to our heroine. Once again, it seems like this was written specifically to give gay people hope - "you could meet someone like this one day!
But in spite of these problems, I still managed to enjoy Nic and Battle's relationship. It was sort of rocky, which managed to keep it out of wish-fulfillment territory so that I could appreciate how tender and realistic it was, even if the characters behind it weren't. The relationship was a slow-burning one, and Nic and Battle never quite knew where they stood with each other.
Moreover, Nic's infatuation with Battle at the beginning, infused with her shock at being attracted to a girl, was perfectly and accurately rendered. Another thing that was perfectly and accurately rendered was the effect that parents can have on kids - and in a book that takes place at a sleep-away summer camp, no less. Battle and Issac's parents played constant roles in shaping their personalities and character arcs.
The subplots involving the parents were probably my favorite part of the book. Issac's parents had a very fighty relationship, and they divorced while Issac was at the camp. His reaction to this accurately portrayed , along with the fact that his friends were kind of assholes about it without meaning to be sad, but accurately portrayed made the entire subplot moving.
Likewise, Battle's dealing with her over-religious father and the mysterious disappearance of her brother and naturally, Nic being an asshole about it without meaning to felt poignant and altogether awesome. However, I wasn't a big fan of the resolution of these subplots - or the lack of it, thereof. The only message I could draw from this was that if your parents are having a negative effect on your life, there's nothing you can do about it - you just have to put up with it and hope you turn out okay anyhow.
The characters become happier people at the end, but it has nothing to do with their parents - they're happy in spite of them, instead of because of them. This does a huge disservice to anyone who has parents that they're unsatisfied with, and it kind of ruined the whole subplot for me.
As for the plot It was mostly focused on character relationships. There was no real dramatic structure - things just happened, and they connected to each other, but not in the way a traditional plot would. Did it make for an interesting read?
I'm not entirely sure. I was only bored a couple times, but I still feel like Ryan could've done better with a real plot. But as an LGBT novel, it does its job well, other than the wish-fulfillment aspects. It's surprisingly uncliched for a novel that supposedly set up the cliches in LGBT novels. There's no predictable coming out story, Nic never angsts about having a crush on a straight girl that's resolved when she finds a lesbian girl, and issues of homophobia are dealt with minimally and believably. Moreover, I liked how little time the novel spent preoccupied on giving the quiltbag characters labels.
Nic spends a little time wondering if she's lesbian or bisexual, but she doesn't come up with anything definitive, nor did she really care to. Moreover, Battle's sexuality wasn't discussed at all - all we know was that she was romantically attracted to at least some girls. I felt like this dodged a huge bullet by not letting itself be predictable the way it might've, and by letting the character relationships take the center stage instead of angst.
So overall, this novel was a bit too heavy on wish-fulfillment and a bit too light on plot, but it had some lovely writing and character relationships. There are better LGBT novels out there, but there are also much, much worse ones. I decided on a 4-star rating, but I still think it might be 3. But you can judge for yourself! Does this review tempt you to buy the book? Help me sort my thoughts out with my answer in the comments!
View all 12 comments. Jul 09, J rated it liked it Shelves: 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 3.
I kept expecting something big to happen, but this was a very tame book. Coming from someone who reads mostly sci-fi and horror. I did like that the characters were unapologetically bisexual and no one harassed them about it. There were some homophobes in this, of course. But that was far from the focus of the story and they weren't specifically biphobic. Also, hooray for the view spoiler [ happy ending!
Pretty average without being absolutely mundane. May 09, Tanya rated it it was ok Shelves: 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. A good coming of age story is a good story, regardless of the central characters. Empress of the World looked like it was worth a read.
Complete review at http: Jun 01, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: 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. Jun 17, Stephen Arvidson rated it really liked it Shelves: Empress of the World celebrates adolescent romance and budding sexuality in all of its sticky, modern complexity. Nic approaches her homosexual proclivities with surprisingly little angst and introspection, self-identifying as bisexual in light of past dalliances with boys. In fact, their closest peers hardly bat an eye and are quite supportive, while the more angst-addled pupils react with tacit approval. Teen drama naturally unfolds as the pair struggles to find balance in their relationship.
Perceptive and witty, Nic Lancaster is a likeable heroine whom the author depicts in language that's both respectful and accessible to teenage audiences. Although unlikely to leave any lasting impressions, Empress of the World is well-paced and touching in its simplicity. Aug 17, Jay rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 There's not one thing that makes this book good. She has friends but no real 'friends' friends. She is definitely someone I could see myself knowing. The friends she makes at camp is that the right word?
I don't know are a little more one-dimensional, particularly Katrina. But Nic admits that maybe she didn't get to know all of them as well as she could have. I liked Isaac the most, if only because I got the feeling he just wanted to have a girlfriend, and it didn't matter if it was Katrina or Nic. Battle I had the most problems with. Now, those of you who follow my reviews closely har har will know names matter a lot to me.
We didn't really get to know her at all. She was just there, very aloof.
I also got the feeling she didn't care at all for Nicola. She struck me, unfortunately, as one of those faux-bis- lead a girl along to get a guy's attention and to say she's been with a chick. Special effects, cue the Lancaster Special Neon Blush. Did she look at me strangely before she said that? Please, let her not be able to read my mind. It helps her focus and figure things out. Try to remember the first time you felt really drawn or attracted to someone and write a short journal entry of your own, as if it were happening now.
Writing Prompt 2 The relationship between Nic and Battle seems to be easily accepted among their friends; does this seem realistic to you? How would people react? Writing Prompt 3 One of the things Empress of the World looks at is the line between friendship and romantic feelings.