Book Events, The Daevabad Trilogy

The Empire of Gold Readalong Announcement

I have an exciting announcement for you all today! Me and Zulfa are hosting a readalong for The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty!

The readalong will begin on 6th Oct and end on 7th November with an Instagram live chat with Shannon. We will also be sharing discussion posts and fun activities on twitter and Instagram over the month.

This readalong is quite relaxed and you can all read at your own pace. But we would love to see your updates so make sure you use #EOGReadalong in your tweets or posts so we can find them!

During the live we will also be asking Shannon all the spoiler questions so write down any you want to ask for the live! We will also be collecting questions so if you can’t make it you can give us the question to ask Shannon.

There will also be a giveaway which will be announced later but there may be some art involved…

Make sure to follow our social media to keep up with the readalong

Shannon’s instagram and twitter

Zulfa’s instagram and twitter

My instagram and twitter

Adult Books, Diverse Books

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang – Book Review

I was a complete wreck after finishing this book but wow I loved it. Clearly I like to torture myself. Here is my review of The Poppy War. This review will contain spoilers for the first book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

Once again please check trigger warnings before reading this book. There are discussions of rape, death, torture, colourism, racism, substance abuse, self harm, suicide

I listened to the audiobook which I loved so much, the narrator is really great and has you completely hooked. If you enjoy audiobooks I definitely recommend listening to this one.

Rebecca really came for my heart in this book and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. This isn’t a trilogy for someone who is looking to escape into a fantasy world, this is steeped in real history and Rebecca doesn’t hold back from sharing how dark the world can be. While there isn’t a chapter which is like chapter 21 of The Poppy War, it is still difficult and uncomfortable to read at times and it should be.

I knew going into this book that I should not get attached to any character because Rebecca is ruthless and yet I found myself wanting to keep Ramsa and Kitay safe and away from harm. Thesse two became my favourite characters in this book and I was terrified for them and honestly Rebecca really does make them all suffer so I was rightfully terrified. The cike are such an interesting group of characters because they are all misfits and yet Altan was able to keep them somewhat united. However once Rin is made Commander things start to fall apart. Rin may be a powerful shaman but she is no Commander and I felt for the cike who fell apart under her leadership.

Rin is immensely powerful and reckless and those two combinations make her volatile and a danger to those around her. She continues to be reckless throughout this book, jumping before really thinkinga bout the situation and implications and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to really think about things for a minute. She struggles with what she did at the end of The Poppy War but I’m glad that her actions aren’t justified to the reader. She tries not to think about, taking opium to drown out her thoughts and also to not think about Altan and her complicated feelings regarding him and what happened. Basically throughout most of the book she is a mess and that’s why it takes her so long to understand what is happening and results in THAT ending.

Kitay is still my favourite and the only one who can make Rin see reason and with him she is able to better strategize. One of my favourite scenes is when he builds Rin wings, in one week I might add, to help her battle the wind god. He is the single voice of reason amongst all these morally grey people and I hope that Rebecca has some mercy on my heart and doesn’t make him suffer too much in the last book.

Nezha is the character I went from hating to liking to loving to hating again. I was a mess. This man really needs to get it together and decide which side he’s on. I was SO MAD at him by the end of the book and I really want him to get his ass kicked by Rin. I have mixed feelings towards him and I’m honestly not sure whether he will be able to redeem himself after what he did but then again practically everyone in this book has done some really problematic things. We also get to learn more about him and his background and family which was interesting to see. I really hate his parents and how his dad manipulates everyone to his own advantage and own ulterior motives while acting like he’s doing this on behalf of the people.

The Hesperians who come from the west were awful too. They thought they were superior just because they were born in the west and I really hated how they believed they could “fix” Rin and the other shamans. The way they treat those who they believe to be inferior was horrible and I am worried about how much damage they will do in the last book after causing that destruction

This is a book that had me reading into the early hours of the morning because once it starts it does not stop and I just could not stop listening to the audiobook. I really loved this book and I am looing forward to reading The Burning God and by looking forward I mean dying from pain.

Book Tag

The Zumra Book Tag

So the lovely Rameela has created an amazing book tag inspired by the Zumra from We Hunt the Flame! So of course I had to do the tag!

Here is the link for the tag

Zafira bint Iskander: An emotionally driven character or book

The Bloodprint is quite emotionally driven. The MC is driven by her wanting to get justice and build a better world for her people.

Nasir Ghameq: Angsty boy A character that’s conflicted/at war with themselves

Altan is really conflicted throughout The Poppy War. I really felt for him and how awful his life has been.

Kifah Darwish: A book with lots of food in it (or a foodie character)

The Candle and the Flame is full of food references that had me drooling! Every time a gulab jamun was mentioned it made me crave it.

Benyamin Haadi: A book with a “mum” character (or a book with wisdom you didn’t seek)

Laila from The Gilded Wolves is definitely a mum character. She looks after everyone especially Zofia.

Altair al-Badawi: A secretive character (or a book that kept you guessing)

Descendant of the Crane had me guessing until the end. I really loved this book and it had me hooked!

Deen Ra’ad: A simp A pure cinnamon roll

Adam from Love From A to Z is a pure cinnamon roll and I love him so much!

Yamine Ra’ad: A character you wouldn’t want on your bad side

Juliette Cai from These Violent Delights is deadly and there is no way I would want to get on her bad side.

Lana bint Iskander: A character that had to grow up too quickly

The Qahtani siblings from The Daevabad trilogy. I mean do they even get to have a childhood at all?

Adult Books, Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan – Book Review

This book is absolutely incredible and has fast become one of my favourite reads!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding a copy of The Bloodprint promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last. 

I had been putting this book off because I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy it but I wish I had read it earlier because I absolutely loved it! This is such a wonderful book that is steeped in history and Islamic beliefs has been woven seamlessly into the story. Ausma actually used verse from the Quran in the story which had me crying happy tears when I read it.

The world building in this book is incredible, it is complex and intricate and I know some people may find it a little confusing but don’t stop, keep reading, it’s totally worth it! The world is Persian inspired and you can see it in everything from the landscape to the clothing and more I loved reading it so much. I loved learning about the history of the world and how the oppressive regime, the talisman, have destroyed institutions of education and oppressed women and that the main character is part of a group of women who are trying to bring back peace and justice to their homes.

These women are called the Companions of Hira and the nod to Mount Hira had me squealing in delight! Where the Prophet (pbuh) was first given revelation and told to read. These women are called oralists and prize education and justice named themselves after a place where the first revelation was revealed. *chefs kisses*

I love all the characters and how we slowly learn about them over the course of the story yet they still remain a mystery to some extent which will have you dying for the next book. I really can’t wait to learn more about Sinnia and Daniyar especially. I completely fell in love with Daniyar and his mysterious ways and yet how he is with Arian and supports her decisions not trying to decide things for her and actually expresses his feelings. I want more soft boys in books please!

The main character, Arian, was so wonderful to read about, her faith in finding justice and searching for the Bloodprint, which is actually the Quran! The moment I realised she was talking about searching for the Quran I screamed because wow I absolutely love how respectfully and wonderfully Ausma wove Islam and Islamic beliefs into the story. Arian also uses the verse of the Bloodprint which are known to them as a form of power and it was so interesting to read.

One of the most fascinating things about the book is how the talisman are essentially the Taliban regime and how they prevented people from having access to the quran and centres of education and oppressed the women. The companions of hira represent the people who stood up against their oppression and fought for a better world. It’s especially interesting as both sides fighting for very different worlds are using the same text, the Bloodprint to justify their views. It shows how the same information can be used so differently and interpreted so differently.

The story had me completely hooked from the beginning and reading about the courage of women who are in so many different situations and how they try to make the best of their lives within what they can do but also try to fight for a better more just world. The ending where we finally start to see some of the pieces fall together had me reeling with the revelations and the sacrifices they all had to make. I am still not over one particular scene and after that ending I am so excited to dive into The Black Khan.

I highly recommend picking up this wonderful especially now as the last book will be out soon so you can binge all four books. You will not regret it. My heart is so full and happy after reading this wonderful book.

Booksish Discussions, Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Books as Outfits

I’m here with another Top 10 Tuesday post and this is a cover freebie so I thought I would do a books as Asian outfits Sherwani edition! I did one a while ago on Pakistani outfits which people loved so I thought I would do another one because these outfits are too beautiful to not share!

I hope you enjoy this post!

1 The City of Brass

2 The Kingdom of Copper

3 The Empire of Gold

4 These Violent Delights

5 Pride Prejudice and Other Flavours

6 A Torch Against the Night

7 The Candle and the Flame

8 The Never Tilting World

9 The Silvered Serpents

10 We Set the Dark on Fire

Let me know which was your favourite one!