Adult Books, Diverse Books

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – ARC Review

Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire. 

TW: Discussions of being burned alive

I really loved the story though it was really dark at times. The world that Tasha has created was incredible. I loved that it’s inspired by Indian/Desi culture and all the things that was so familiar to me. From things like the clothes and food to the architecture and language, it was just so wonderful to see it in the book.

The discussions of how colonisation and the oppression of the indigenous populations and erasure of their culture and history was written into the story so well. It was a complex nuanced discussion which we see through both the oppressed and the colonisers and how it has impacted different people and communities. How the oppressed have lost their language and culture how they have become the most vulnerable and poor, unable to live safely and peacefully. How people will have different definitions of what resistance looks like and what lengths people will go to, to put an end to the occupation.

This book has some incredible female characters from Malini who can be ruthless to achieve her goals and kind hearted Priya who will always look out for those she loves and Bhumika who’s powerful in her own way despite people thinking she is weak because she cares for the poor and vulnerable. I loved seeing how women can be powerful in their own way and there isn’t just one “right” way to be strong and powerful.

I loved seeing the different points of view and how these women made a difference in a society that holds little value for women and how they are in many ways better and more resilient than the men in their lives. I am so excited to see where the story will go next after the ending of this book. I am especially looking forward to seeing Malini taking down her brother!

I think my one issue with the story was that I felt the romance between Priya and Malini felt a little forced, I just didn’t find they had chemistry or depth in their relationship past the attraction they had to each other and that they were both fighting for an end to the oppression of their people.

I am still really excited to read the next book especially because I completely fell in love with the world building and the story had me hooked from the beginning and I cannot wait to see where the story will go next.

Adult Books, Diverse Books

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa – ARC Review

Thank you to orbit books for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis from goodreads:

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire. 

I loved Danso so much! He is my favourite type of character, a soft nerd who often acts first thinks later but has good intentions. And then we have Lilong who is a warrior and a grumpy one at that who has to deal with Danso and his act first attitude. Lastly we have Esheme who is absolutely terrifying and gets scarier as the story progresses.

Danso is treated as an outcast because he looks more like his mother than his father and so he has never really fit in. He is also incredibly smart academically and loves to learn new things and so he is at the top of his class but it’s never enough for him. He wants to know more about his mothers family and his constant searching for answers gets him into trouble. He is also set to marry Eshmae and while they are civil to each other there is no real feelings between them.

Eshmae is driven and will not let anyone get in her way, her mother is essentially a fixer and does what cannot be done through legal channels quietly and discreetly. As a result Eshmae is some what of an outcast too but she uses any all advantage she can find to further her goals. She is ruthless and doesn’t take any crap from anyone and honestly I loved her character so much although it does mean she’s out to hurt my baby Danso but I want to see more characters like her in books!

Lilong is a warrior and one who does not trust easily. She is sassy and sarcastic and does not like asking for help but I loved seeing her slowly warm to Danso and eventually start to trust him after everything they go through. I am so looking forward to seeing more of her and her people.

One of my favourite things about the book was the incredible world building. It’s set in a world inspired by a pre-colonial empire in West Africa and it was just so vibrant and I loved reading about the world and the cultures. There is a complex caste system and so many different cultures living in this world and it’s so vastly different to worlds if read about before and I just loved every single second. I also loved the magic system we are introduced to and I hope we get to learn more in the sequel!

This book slowly builds to an incredibly tense end and had me screaming because WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?! I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel because I need to know what will happen to all the characters.

Adult Books, Fiction Books

There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool – ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the cover of this book it instantly made me interested and when I read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. This book was such an intense and thrilling read and I absolutely loved it!

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Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

THE AGE OF DARKNESS APPROACHES. FIVE LIVES STAND IN ITS WAY. WHO WILL STOP IT . . . OR UNLEASH IT?
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations – until they disappeared, one hundred years ago.
But they left behind one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As a dark new power begins to make war on the magically gifted, five souls are set on a collision course that will determine the fate of their world:
A prince exiled from his kingdom
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up
One of them – or all of them – could break the world. Will they be saviour or destroyer?

This book had me hooked right from the beginning and I just could not put it down once I started reading. It had me captivated and I just needed to know what would happen next and how these characters lives would intersect.

We get five points of view but each one had their own distinct voice that it was easy to distinguish between them. This is a very character driven story yet there is still plenty of great plot with some crazy plot twists that left me reeling. I actually loved all the characters which is rare for me, but it just shows what a great job Katy did in bringing the characters to life.

Each of them have an important role to play in the 100 year old prophecy but we don’t know what that role will be but we do get a clearer picture by the end. It was interesting to see how their lives get tangled with each other and what events causes them to go in the direction they do.

Hassan is a cinnamon roll and must be protected at all costs. He is passionate and driven by trying to save his people and his family and his own battles with himself and learning to accept that even though he isn’t graced he is still capable of being a leader was so wonderful to see.

Ephyra is known as the pale hand and murders people who avoid justice by their powerful position and essentially sucks their essence to be able to keep her sister Beru alive. Their story is so tragic and I thought she was such a badass and a great morally grey character. Especially events at the end between the sisters has me really intrigued where their story will go.

Jude is our oblivious yet highly skilled leader who is desperately trying to avoid his feelings because he is supposed to remain celibate. I can already see that this will not work out well for him. And lastly we have Anton who is snarky and sarcastic and on the run from someone who he is terrified of. He has an important role in this prophecy especially once his lives intersect with Ephyra and Jude.

The ending leaves things open ended for all five of our characters and there are some crazy plot twists that left me reeling and I seriously need to know what will happen next!