Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2017 by Skyscape
Such a compelling read that I had to finish it in a day. I couldn’t get myself to put it down for very long! It was also refreshing to visit a different culture than that of European origin or inspiration. I love fantasy books that use knights and dragons and lush forests, but it’s also fun to visit the desert. Drawing on Sumerian mythology and desert nation cultures, King did a great job of blending magic and intrigue into a maturation and finding-self tale.
There were some very uncomfortable sexism “policies” in this world. The whole Claiming process where men who give money to the temples get their pick of the young women who make their home there was infuriating, especially when we discover why that practice is in place. It was also frustrating that the main characters all took it for granted, that these “policies” were ancient and always in place. It didn’t help that that’s what they were taught. I do think the author did a great job addressing the issue though by weaving it into the text and made the reveals later in the narrative that much more alarming.
Speaking of emotions, King hit the full range throughout the story. Pain, sadness, despair, courage, delight, lust, fear. They were all here and portrayed in a very realistic way. Overall, this was a spectacular first book in a series, and I can’t wait to read book 2, out this September. Hooray for short waiting periods 🙂
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.