Lord of the Empty Isles

One curse. Two sworn enemies. Thousands of lives in the balance.

Narrated by Georgina Sadler
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Pub Date Jun 06 2024 | Archive Date Jun 13 2024

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One curse. Two sworn enemies. Thousands of lives in the balance.

Ash, dried flowers, and a drop of blood: Remy has all he needs to avenge his brother's death.

Five years ago, interstellar pirate Idrian Delaciel ordered a withering - a death curse - cast on Remy's brother, costing him his life. Now, Remy is ready to return the favour. Only when he casts the withering, it also rebounds onto him.

The implications are unthinkable - that Remy is fatebound to his brother's killer.

The only way to slow the curse is to close the distance between them, so Remy infiltrates Idrian's criminal crew, hiding his identity as the witherer. But Remy quickly learns that Idrian is the sole provider of life-saving supplies to thousands of innocents. And if he dies, they will perish with him.

With more at stake now than just revenge, Remy must find a way to break the curse. Too bad for him - the only way to stop a withering is to kill the witherer.

One curse. Two sworn enemies. Thousands of lives in the balance.

Ash, dried flowers, and a drop of blood: Remy has all he needs to avenge his brother's death.

Five years ago, interstellar pirate...

Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9781399724999
PRICE £24.99 (GBP)
DURATION 12 Hours, 2 Minutes, 34 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 57 members

Featured Reviews

I adored this book. Featuring an aroace MC, found family, platonic connections, and it's just a beautiful sci-fi novel in which our main character accidentally fatebinds himself to his brother's killer. Exploring hope and forgiveness, this is one of my favourite books of the year.

Would absolutely recommend the audiobook as well!

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Lord of the Empty Isles was a fun, fast-paced adventure/fantasy. I loved the world-building and the fact that the curses tied their fates together. I can't wait for the next book in this series!

Great audio narration.

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Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton Audio and NetGalley for the chance to read this book! I have been dying to read this since I saw the beautiful Goldsboro edition on Instagram and it was mentioned that the MC was aroace. And then I was immediately devastated because I realized it didn’t have a US release date and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to read it. But then, a miracle! The audiobook pops up on NetGalley and I get approved for it! So obviously I had to listen right away and I was not disappointed!

While I thought the world building was such a cool part of this book (love the idea of different tethers and how the connect and strengthen or break) it was ultimately the incredibly flawed and incredibly human characters that I loved the most. Remy has a fantastic arc from grief stricken sibling to revolutionary symbol, I loved going on this journey with him as his one track mind for vengeance was slowly opened and he was exposed to the suffering of others and how there are no easy choices for those a system has doomed to fail. And of course I loved all of the other characters as well, especially Idrian who is obviously not the evil outlaw he has been portrayed to be but neither is he innocent of all his crimes. This is truly the best part of reading books with morally grey characters, they are ultimately much more complex than their golden boy counterparts.

Oh, and can I mention how much I loved that there was no romance? I needed a break from romantic pining and angst and this totally hit the spot! And queer platonic relationships are just as good and meaningful, give me all the found family please!

Now who do I speak to about getting this published in the US?!

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1. Audiobook Review:

I was lucky enough to have read Lord of the Empty Isles a couple of months ago, so I was very excited to listen to the audiobook and experience someone else's interpretation. I'm happy to report that Georgina Sadler's interpretation was amazing and did the story justice. It was a different take on the story with a different voice than the one I had in my head while reading. That's not a critique by any means. I want an adaptation, may it be audio or visual, to give me something new that I can't get on my own from reading. So, Lord of the Empty Isles is definitely a story one should experience twice, through text and audio.

2. Book Review:

First, I saw the cover and thought, "I need this book on my shelf." Then I read the blurb and decided that I needed this story in my head. Now, after I’ve read the last page, I simply can’t get it out of my head anymore.

Lord of the Empty Isles is a book that will dare you to put it down. Every page will guide you to the next, making you lose your sense of time and space as Jules Arbeaux fully immerses you in this incredible world she has created.

If I had to boil down the plot to one line, it would probably be, "A clash between grief, love, and hope." I immediately fell in love with the characters which, while keeping me invested in the narrative, was heartbreaking because I simply wanted nothing more than to see them hug it out. But the world isn’t that simple. It never is. And aside from the colorful cast of characters and the incredible world-building, I simply kept going because I kept wanting answers to two questions: How did it come to this? Where do we go from here?

Remy and Idrian were the heart of the story for me, and the network of emotional bonds they’ve formed with the characters around them was way more satisfying and heartwarming for me personally than most of the romance subplots I usually read.

Overall, Lord of the Empty Isles is an incredible, heartwarming story set in a vivid and unique world, filled with amazing characters that will stay with you long past the final words. It’s a magnificent debut, and I can’t wait to see more of Arbeaux's work in the future.

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My best book of 2024 so far. Lord of the Empty Isles may be fantasy/science fiction, but its themes are achingly familiar. Grief. Regret. Revenge. Betrayal. Identity. Family. How do I forgive myself for failing someone I love? How do I find redemption? How do I heal? CAN I heal at all?

The characters are flawed and scarred and all the more lovable for it. They portray the inevitable imperfections inherent in every human relationship. You will swiftly fall for every member of Idrian's ragtag crew of outlaws and their quirky, cozy, chosen-family bantering and bickering and fretting. They feel like an affectionate nod to another certain rebellious thieving crew in a cosmere far, far away ;)

And our main character, Remy, who begins our tale with the self-righteous moral absolutism of the young. Throughout the story, the lad repeatedly gets his moral compass unceremoniously drop-kicked down the cosmic stairs. If you love character growth, look no further.

The audiobook narrator fearlessly, flawlessly tackles multiple different accents for the characters with clarity and continuity. Well done, Georgina Sadler!

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Wow. What a story!

I don’t think I expect much when I started this and I have to say I am so pleasantly surprised by this book. It’s a powerful story of loss, revenge, adventure, and friendship, things you don’t often see in one book.

Remy was so relatable in his grief, the anger you feel, the pain that comes with thinking of a loved one who has passed. The suddenness of death always takes you by surprise one way or another, and Idrian is going to get a lesson on that if Remy has anything to do with it.

I didn’t really get the magic system, even to the end of the book. But I do like that you don’t necessarily need to understand it to enjoy the book and get a decent idea of what is going on and what the possible consequences are.

The Narrator was *chefs kiss* brilliant! I loved the variety of the accents, I’m sure that can be really hard to keep track of when recording a book with a large cast but the Narrator did a very good job of making each person feel like an individual. 5/5⭐️

Thank you to the Author Jules Arbeaux, and the Narrator Georgina Sadler for making this book possible for me to enjoy!

Also huge Thank You to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton Audio for my free audio book copy of “Lord Of The Empty Isles”.

I received this advance review copy for free and I am leaving an honest review voluntarily.

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Let me preface this review by saying that when it comes to books, I don't usually like science fiction. In movies? Yes, sign me up! But in books? Not so much. Lord of the Empty Isles, though? This book changed my life.

Five years ago Remy's brother died by a withering - a dead curse. Now Remy finally has everything he needs to return the favour. There is one major problem. When he casts the withering, it rebounds onto him, which means he is fatebound to his brother's killer. Just a regular Tuesday, am I right?

It gets even better! The only way to slow the curse for long enough to find a cure is to join forces with Idrian and his criminal crew. Expect it turns out Idrian is the sole provider of life-saving supplies to tens of thousands of innocent people and when he dies, they'll die with him.

Bad news is; the only way to get rid of the withering is to kill the person who cast it...

I loved this book! It has so many interesting and incredible characters and I couldn't get enough of them. You set out to get revenge with Remy for his brother and then you learn alongside him that the world isn't what he thought it is. With him, you get to know everyone else's story and rage and grief that blinded you and Remy starts to lift. Idrian, the self-proclaimed Lord of the Isles, is a morally gray character who does anything and everything for the people he cares for - quite literally no matter the cost. And the more you read, the more you understand him and his reasons and you cannot even fault him for the things he has done. (Or at least I couldn't.)

There is no romance in this as Remy is aroace(!!!! a win for me!!!!) but it has connections so much deeper than that in my opinion. It has queer platonic relationship, friendship and found family. The book is all about finding yourself and your self-worth, forgiving and growing. And I think most importantly; healing.

“Remy would never cut Cameron away. Pain is a small price to pay for keeping this last piece of him close.” — it's about realising that sometimes healing means letting go and understanding that those who care about us would never wish for us to hurt.

But then it's also about understanding how much healing hurts and how hard it is. “Healing feels like betrayal, like releasing a fragile, precious thing kept from crumbling only by the pressure of his hands.”

Lord of the Empty Isles is absolutely a rollercoaster of emotions. It made me laugh and then it made me cry. At times, it is heartbreakingly brutal and dark but it is also filled with hope and light. Please, listen to me, you need the tissues, be prepared.

I listened to the audiobook and I think that made the book only more emotional. In my opinion, the reader did a fantastic job. Especially this part; "Sleep my child. May earth protect you, deep and wild the forest green. Sun will rise and paths direct you, stars will guide you home to me." I think that's correct, I didn't write it down anywhere, I just listened it so many times that I think I learned it word to word. I don't know what it is about that part but it made me sob my eyes out.

I think this book might have just convinced me to give a chance to more science fiction books. I absolutely adored this one.

And here is one more of my favourite quotes, which I didn't know where to put: "Why did he ever think more death could pay for a life?"

Thank you NetGalley for the audiobook ARC!

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