The Ashfire King (The Sandsea Trilogy)
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Here's the thing- if this had been marketed as a YA title, I would have said it's a very strong debut, despite the failings mentioned above, and a promising start to a series. I hate the way people always assume fantasy written by women is YA, but in this case the book genuinely reads like YA. Which is fine, but if I'm reviewing it as an adult fantasy title, I'm looking for more. More interesting, complex characters with deeper character work and growth arcs. More depth and maturity to the themes and politics. And this is not to say that YA fantasy CAN'T have all of those things (because sometimes it does), but I don't go in expecting them. But this was sold as an adult title and as such, it feels very safe and maybe a bit bland. Book 3 in the Crystal Bloom Series, a dark Rapunzel reimagining full of immersive imagery and breathtaking angst. One of my forever favorite series! THE ASHES AND THE STAR-CURSED KING by Carissa Broadbent March 15 2023
The breathtaking adult debut and a sumptuous, gothic-infused story about a marriage that is unraveled by dark secrets, a friendship cursed to end in tragedy, and the danger of believing in fairy tales. A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon
The incorporation of folklore throughout was also really lovely, and though her name isn’t expressly mentioned, I loved how prominent Shahrazad’s story (the storyteller who’s clever stories save her life and win her the heart of a Sultan) was, with her son (and his passion for thre oral storytelling tradition) being one of the main focuses of the plot. The stories are so vividly detailed and truly capture that magical sense of wonder you feel when hearing a really great, immersive tale that you return to again and again.
The Stardust Thief is a fun book, with a great magic system and worldbuilding accompanied with good action. But I'll be honest, I skimmed through it after bearing to attentively read the first few chapters. a b c Belgacem, Assia (2022-06-22). "The Stardust Thief: A magical nod to Arab oral story-telling". The New Arab . Retrieved 2022-09-02. Loulie al-Nazari, being one. Her entire tribe murdered, she was left as the sole survivor amidst all the bloodshed. Yet it was a jinn who saved her. Qadir’s destiny leads him to find Loulie, cowering and clutching desperately to her father’s mysterious compass, and from that moment their lives become entwined. Loulie and Qadir’s relationship is beautiful, these are two people who essentially are lost, they run from their past in the hopes of escaping the pain, escaping their memories. Loulie gives Qadir a purpose in life, to protect her and guide her, and in turn Qadir gives her a purpose too, for the compass leads them to jinn relics, which turns our Loulie into The Midnight Merchant. Facing your past takes courage and through the course of the novel Qadir and Loulie both have to take this journey. Abdullah shows us that strength comes in many forms, and sometimes relying on others to help you, being able to show your emotions and finding a purpose in life when you’ve lost all takes a significant amount of courage. Female characters do not always have to have physical strength to be strong, sometimes admitting your vulnerabilities is a strength all on its own and I truly resonated with this. Loulie and Qadir depend upon each other, they have a truly endearing father daughter-esque relationship.I liked that the characters had to work for everything; they didn’t just instinctively know what to do; they had to fight tooth and nail every step of the way. It kept things realistic (as realistic as a fantasy novel can be).
Orbit US senior editor Brit Hvide acquired World English rights from Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Agency. Orbit UK editor Emily Byron has secured UK rights.Secrets, Lies, and Jinn: Chelsea Abdullah's The Stardust Thief". Paste. 2022-05-16 . Retrieved 2022-09-02. Abdullah presents a world where beauty and horror coincide. The jinn were feared and hunted because of their immense power, yet the humans exploited that power at every opportunity. Magical relics were a commodity both bargained and sought after, illegally traded or gifted to the sultan. Jinn were murdered with iron swords for their silver blood which miraculously brought nature to barren lands. A luscious garden filled with scented flowers and waterfalls may have been a sight to marvel over but it would signify the death of a jinn. This prejudice against jinn was fuelled as tales of their merciless killing of humans circulated through generations, but what of the humans’ cruelty to jinn? What of their suffering? They are after all living legends, do they not too deserve a place in this world? Abdullah poignantly reflects this notion through the rich and layered history of her world, and her characters show that all is not as history tells and there are some who sympathise. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the most anticipated fantasy and fantasy romance books of 2023!