Bonds of Brass

Bonds of Brass

by Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Bloodright Trilogy #1
Genres: Fiction / Science Fiction / Space Opera
Published on April 7, 2020
Pages: 320
Format: eBook Source: Library

Ettian’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded his world. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal—his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the academy feel like a new home.
But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised academy unscathed, rattled that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him, and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. 
As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?

Art by Yosua Bungaran Cahya Putra

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. Take a kid who lost everything when his planet was invaded, let him start rebuilding his life, and then shake his whole world up again.

Ettian has a crush on his roommate and best friend, Gal. When his classmates who were part of the same fallen empire as Ethan suddenly turn on Gal, he doesn’t know why. He instinctively defends him. Then he finds out that Gal is part of the ruling family of the civilization that destroyed his life. What do you do now?

He knows that Gal has been getting in trouble for arguing against Imperial law and customs in their classes. Does that mean that he’ll be a more just ruler?

And if you asked me to pick the next ruler of the galaxy out of my academy class, it definitely wouldn’t be the dipshit trying to jam ethics into the middle of Umber warfare.

He wants to help Gal because they are close. He wants the proximity to power of a potentially better ruler. But he also wants justice for his planet. He can’t have them all.

I really liked the first half of this book. Ettian has a lot of internal conflict that could be uncomfortable to read. Then it went all Space Battle.


Space battles bore me. I was more or less just reading it to finish it. But then it redeemed itself. No spoilers but the ending to this book is a thing of beauty. It made me want to read the rest of the series.

Since I wrote that brief review in preparation for SciFiMonth, I have read the rest of the series.

It is so hard to review this series because you can’t really talk about books 2 and 3 without spoiling the ending of book 1. I wouldn’t want to do that because I enjoyed that ending so much. Suffice it to say, that every time you think you’ve got a handle on this story the author upends everything.

The story ends up being a love story between the two boys, a found family story when they pick up a young street orphan from another planet, and a thought exercise on types of leadership. Gal’s mother rules through fear and absolute power. Ettian’s homeworld values a more servant leadership type that Gal’s family sees as ultimate weakness.

Even if, like me, you aren’t into big epic space battles there is a lot here to enjoy.