Book Review: The Emperor’s New Clothes by Aldous Mercer

RR1ATitle: The Emperor’s New Clothes

Author: Aldous Mercer

Genre: Science Fiction, M/M Romance

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon, Smashwords

Imperial Agent Royce Ree needs to pull off the biggest heist the Universe has ever seen, or it’s bye-bye cushy government job, hello cleaning toilets in a dive-bar on Baga-V.

To succeed, he will need help from the last person he’d ever ask: his ex.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is amazing. It’s so hilarious, imaginative, and refreshingly original that I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. The main character, Royce Ree, has a sense of humor that completely matches my own.

Here’s an example from one of the first pages.

“Retrieval of what, agent?” asked the Spymaster, finally.

“Their impeccable sense of style, sir.”

“And yet…and yet what you actually brought me was their Royal Princess, intent upon marrying the Emperor.”

Royce didn’t dare shift his gaze from that perfectly neutral wall to look at the other occupant of the room.

“You also,” continued the Spymaster, “brought me half of Baldasshi’s parliament, six hundred Nova class battleships, and a menagerie of wild animals.”

“Psychic wild animals, sir,” ventured Royce.

Don’t tell me you can read that without even a hint of a smile, because I certainly can’t. Anyway, the book is filled with humoristic quirks like that, so I had a smile plastered on my face for most of my time reading. It’s also a very fast read. It was 328 pages in my .epub reader, but it went very fast. Now, back to the story.

Royce Ree is an imperial agent, who has a mission he can’t fail. Unfortunately, right at the start of it, he bumps into Les, the man he was once married to, and the last person he wanted to see. What happens next is of course, an argument, in the ventilation ducts of all places. They’re forced to work together, which means arguing more than cooperating for most of the time.

There were some minor flaws. The first was the ominipresent narrator. The book is told mostly from Royce’s POV, but every so often, the narrator jumps into Les’ mind, giving us his thoughts. Now, the omnipresent narrator (or whatever you want to call it, that’s the term my English teacher used in high school) isn’t always bad, but it’s not necessary here, and is actually a little confusing, because it doesn’t happen very often, almost like it happens without the author noticing.

Secondly, there are some typos. For example, on page 14 of my copy, right after the small introduction, there’s a sentence telling us where the characters are at (each chapter starts this way, which I don’t think is necessary either, it’s quite obvious where they are. It should only happen if we change perspective to other characters, not stick with the same ones) saying “Ventination Duct, Institute of Research and Development, Baldessh”. Which should actually be “Ventilation Duct”. Now, it’s no biggie, but the error glared at me from my screen because the words are bold and caps.

Anyway, those tiny annoyances didn’t really ruin anything. The plot was great, the characters were intriguing – I kind of want to invite Royce to every party I’m going to throw for the rest of my life, because he’s plain awesome – and the humor added an extra dimension to the story. The author is definitely very talented, and he’s crafted an imaginative, entertaining world, which I long to revisit. Please write more, and please hold on to that sense of humor.


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