Arcadia is the Emperor’s shadow. She goes out to eliminate the people who plot rebellion and cause unrest. It has been two hundred years since the Imperialists wan the war, but there are still those who continue the fight. She gets home from her latest mission just in time for the semi annual formal ball for the rulers of the planets which make up the Empire.
Arcadia hates dressing up, but this time, that will be the least of her problems. Her long lost brother shows up and tries to kill the Emperor. She has a sneaking suspicion the assassination attempt was only to get her attention.
The Quest is a teen book disguised as sci fi. All the main characters are teens or in their early twenties, and they act like it with sniping and grumbling being the order of the day. Even the Emperor is young. The Generals are all fresh out of school. Arcadia, the scourge of the Empire with thousands of kills is seventeen. I kept wondering as I read what killed off all the adults.
The Generals and Arcadia are an odd mix of competency and incompetence. They run security in the palace, but do most of the work themselves instead of delegating it. They let personalities get in the way, not that adults don’t, but there is no subtlety.
This is also science fiction with very little technology. A galactic empire, but it doesn’t have basic scanners for weapons. Those weapons are knives and guns with funny names. They don’t have cell phones but must do all their bickering in person.
Having said that, Arcadia is an interesting mix of hard edges and arrogance with a soft spot which is hurt by people’s distrust of her. Some of her throw away comments are great, and the level of sarcasm is terrific. If you don’t mind the teen dynamics and you like space opera, you will probably enjoy this book.