Loathe the Cover, Love the Contents: Reviewing Nemesis by Anna Banks + Giveaway

Brooke Banks | 12:30 AM | | | | | | | | | | |

First, let me say I absolutely hate the cover. And there’s no goddamn reason for this nonsense. When I first saw this months ago, I said “nope” and liked several reviews stating how problematic it is.

In fact, I STILL like those reviews and support those refusing to read this book because of it. That’s what I planned to do as well. So how did I wind up here? *record scratch*

I received an email from FFBC for signing up on this tour. It was HTML only, no pictures. It sounded great and I wanted a fantasy novel so badly. I’ve had a string of good luck with progress contemporary novels and hoped this would continue the trend in the fantasy realm.

It wasn’t until it was too late that I realized this book was the one with the blackface cover.

*headdesk* *sigh*

Now that I’ve read and loved Nemesis, I fucking hate the cover more. And I didn’t think that was possible. The cover could’ve been fantastic like the contents. Instead, it’s nauseating in its insensitivity, will turn people away, and makes me a hypocrite.

So, from the deepest trenches in my heart: fuck everyone involved with this bullshit, from those that created and approved it to those that said nothing or defend it.

If you’re refusing to read Nemesis, I support you and I’m sorry. I’m sorry people that this cover was a good idea, didn’t see anything wrong with it, and people are still defending it. And I understand being upset or disappointed in my failure to follow through on not supporting the book. I feel that way about myself for those same reasons.

Which really, really, really fucking sucks on top of all the other problems because without the cover I’d be basking in the after effects and upset about the cliffhanger ending because I need to follow the story. GRRRR.

The fact that I loved reading Nemesis doesn’t negate any of this criticism or my praise to come. Though I do wonder if the cover wasn’t a problem, would it rate higher?

With all that said, I will be reviewing the contents next. Hint: 4 Stars. You may continue or not at your own discretion.


by Anna Banks
Pub. Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
*Pre-orders will receive an exclusive NEMESIS print and a NEMESIS bath bomb.
The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

ARCREVIEW IconRants IconYoung Adult IconFantasy IconRomance IconOthers IconCliffhanger IconProblematic Icon

The Good The Bad & The Other
++Loved Sepora & Tarik -----The fucking cover
++Loved their relationship and banter -Cliffhanger ending that’s SO mean >:/
++Loved the magic and fantasy worldbuilding -----Did I mention the cover?
++Didn’t see things coming ahead of time -----Once more for the back: the cover
++Loved how it actually deals with ruling a kingdom

FYI:They aren’t sworn enemies except for their families. They’ve never met before and this story would be completely different if they had. It’s not a full on blood feud, battling it out in the streets when the families cross each other. It’s a cold war between two ruling families with their history, traditions, temperament, and kingdoms in the way.

Nemesis opens with Sepora traveling on her serpen fleeing her home. This is the perfect way to get me interested. However, the beginning had info dumps and repetition. I don’t have the memory of a goldfish, okay? So I wanted to, but wasn’t feeling it at first.

Every other chapter is Tarik’s and his felt much smoother. Or it was more dynamic because he was doing stuff while Sepora burning to a crisp in the desert lamenting her fate. (No, her skin isn’t black nor ever painted like cover.)

Once Sepora meets up with people it starts rolling. Her privilege from being a princess is readily apparent as is the culture shock of Theoria. Though she never actually slums it, she is at least aware of her luck. It’s nice to see her care for people of lower classes as people instead of a bottom-line to a healthier economy and stronger country. (which is true and should be a goal for any ruler like Tarik, but we’re still people down here, ya know?)

Meanwhile Tarik is fangirl worthy. I loved him prowling around with his big cat and struggling to handle his new promotion to king. He’s obviously got blind spots accepting traditions and not thinking about things, but he’s a good person and does see reason later.

Now, the way Sepora ended up in the palace and ran around was a bit…stretched at times. Like okay, really? But I enjoyed it all. The interesting magic system, though it’s not commonplace, the different kingdoms, the focus on energy usage, water, etc. for running a kingdom, the plague, the Parani, and of course the serpens. There could always be more serpens.

But what really hooked me was their relationship between Sepora and Tarik. I loved. every. single. goddamn. minute. They are perfect for each other and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

While reading I was completely immersed and smashed through in a single day. Then I noticed the pages were running out and started panicking. Sure enough it ends on a massive unforgivable cliff hanger. WHYYYYY?!?!

Goddamnit. Let the waiting begin.

About Anna:

NYT Bestselling YA author of The Syrena Legacy series: OF POSEIDON (2012), OF TRITON (2013), OF NEPTUNE (2014).

Repped by rockstar Lucy Carson of the Friedrich Agency.

I live with my husband and daughter in the Florida Panhandle. I have a southern accent compared to New Yorkers, and I enjoy food cooked with real fat. I can’t walk in high heels, but I’m very good at holding still in them. If you put chocolate in front of me, you must not have wanted it in the first place.

Favorite Books:

Shatter Me, Cinder, Linger, Shiver, Forever, Pushing the Limits, Unravel Me,Shadow and Bone, Enclave, Divergent, Candor, Graceling, Fire, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Host, Most of James Patterson, and Janet Evanovich makes me laugh through my nose in an unfeminine sort of way.

Visit Anna’s website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of NEMESIS. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Okay... So I obviously missed drama or complaining about the book cover, and I'm probably in minority here but I liked the cover since I first was it. Can you please fill me in with information why this cover is such a bad choice?
    Is it insulting in any way?
    I appologise in advance if I'm blind to the problem.

    But tbh, your review made me interested in this book. Since the day I saw this cover I thought this story was more on a dystopian side so I didn't even bother to read it's synopsis, just thought this book won't be my cup of tea so I kind of brushed it off my mental tbr.
    Now I'm pretty intrigued, tbh!

    1. It's okay, I'm glad you asked!

      Before reading it, the cover alone is problematic. It's a white woman covered in black paint. Why? Why not have a woman of color?

      Blackface is terrible with a terrible history and this continues it. It takes what has been seen as a bad thing or evil and made it exotic and pretty by putting it on caucasian features.

      How would people react if the model was black, instead?

      Now that I've read it, it's worse because Sepora doesn't have skin like that and she's never painted that way. She's put in Egyptian makeup and clothing that sound gorgeous. So why pick this cover? I really don't know. It has no connection to the story. Her skin is different, her hair is much brighter blonde and her silver eyes are supposed to stand out. The blackface is offensive and on top of that it's not a good choice artistically, IMO.

      May I ask what you like about it? What did you notice first? (Genuinely curious, not an attack or hostile question.)


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