My most anticipated book of the year and it did not disappoint!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.
But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.
Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.
Amina al Sirafi has my heart. I loved her so much, from her grumblings about her bad knee to being annoyed by her demon ex to her feelings of guilt when it came to being a mother and a Muslim who wasn’t so practicing in their youth. The discussions on motherhood hit me hard, I related so much to how she felt. That constant pull in multiple directions and the yearning for what you had to sacrifice and trying to find the balance between being a mother and having separate ambitions. How society has certain expectations for women and none of them involve her being anything other than settling down and raising children and looking after the household regardless of what that woman herself wants for herself. But also fiercely loving your child and wanting to do everything within your power to protect them.
Men find it easier to believe they have been swindled by a witch than outwitted by a woman.
I loved how we see who Amina was and who she is now. How she feels the guilt of all the prayers missed and indulging in the haram and how that actually led to some very bad consequences *cough* demon ex *cough* but that she still tries and does her best to practice her faith as best she can because we can always turn back to Allah.
This book is not like Daevabad in that it is a more chaotic fun adventure with a chaotic found family where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It is fast paced and action packed and I loved the little hints to the djinn world we got throughout the book. I was determined not to like this demon ex but Shannon came in with the man bun and it all went downhill from there. This ex was so entertaining to read that he actually became one of my favourite characters and his banter with Amina is top tier.
We are friends…And friends do not murder each other without warning.
The banter between all the characters is one of my favourite parts of the book in fact. I loved how they joked with each other and how well they knew each other despite not being together for several years. Tinbu is a cinnamon roll, Dalilah is absolutely chaotic and Majed is the mum of the group and then there’s Amina who runs first and thinks second. I love them all so much. Also my favourite, Payasam and her single brain cell and Amina’s constant irritation with her. I think we deserve more cat content in the sequel.
The world building as usual is incredible and we get to see the Muslim world during the time of the crusades as well as what the magical world was like at that time. As you can tell by the cover, we do in fact deal with terrifying Marids and more! I loved seeing that there is even more to the magical world than what we see in Daevabad and just how much more history is woven into the story and seeing the diverse cast of people that worked and lived together during that time. This book is also tied to the story of Prophet Sulayman though this time through his connection to Queen Bilqis of Saba and I loved seeing it so much especially because I love the story of Queen Bilqis. Just all the little details that are mentioned in passing but will mean so much to so many of us.
This story is told as though Amina is telling us a story about her adventures and it just gave me grandma tells her grandkids all the chaos she got up to in her youth and I just loved how it was told. I was completely hooked by the end of the first chapter and I just could not put this book down. I loved how we get those intermissions with the stories of the characters of lore and history told to us by the scribe who writes Amina’s story. I just loved everything about this book and I cannot wait to reread and I am dying for the sequel already.
I am going to make you a legend.
If you love chaotic adventures with a found family who go on a dangerous quest and heist for glory and all the money they could ever want, with morally grey characters and discussions of women and their place in society and just all the banter then you need to go preorder and read this book.