Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone
A wildly successful innovator to rival Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, Vivian Liao is prone to radical thinking, quick decision-making, and reckless action. On the eve of her greatest achievement, she's trying to outrun those who are trying to steal her success.
In the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm, Viv sets her ultimate plan into motion. A terrifying instant later, Vivian Liao is catapulted through space and time to a far future where she confronts a destiny stranger and more deadly than she could ever imagine.
The end of time is ruled by an ancient, powerful Empress who blesses or blasts entire planets with a single thought. Rebellion is literally impossible to consider--until Vivian arrives. Trapped between the Pride, a ravening horde of sentient machines, and a fanatical sect of warrior monks who call themselves the Mirrorfaith, Viv must rally a strange group of allies to confront the Empress and find a way back to the world and life she left behind.
TITLE: Empress of Forever
AUTHOR: Max Gladstone
PUBLISHER: Tor Books
LENGTH: 480 pages
Partial Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s).
DNF 114 pages in (24%).
I think what turned me off of this book is I was initially very stoked for Vivian's covert exit from her life, the intrigue of managing anonymity after being so famous. Emotionally I was all set for something that felt like a heist and then the book abruptly transforms into something else. I was fully absorbed into the first set of rules and then just couldn't make the pivot into the galaxy-hopping ragtag band story.
CW for confinement, blood, violence, torture, death.