I really should be doing other work right now, but I am tired. I just finished my last midterm, printed my last assignment (for like the next five days at least) and I need a respite!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here I am in my favourite place. 🙂
Sometimes you just know when you are gonna click with a book. Sometimes it only takes the first page to really get you going. That inkling of a feeling that settles in you as soon as you start reading. The instant connection. That spark. WELL THIS BOOK HAD IT OMG. My very first Goodreads update was that this book was going to be a RENDZ™ book and boy oh boy was it!
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
Pub Date: Nov 13, 2018
Price: $20.99 CAD
A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.
Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…
Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.
*Many thanks to HBG Canada for sending an ARC my way! This is no way influences my opinion*
I literally had the best time of my life with this book. Everything about was simply and utterly fantastic. I can’t even come up with eloquent words to talk about it because I am just sitting here at my desk gushing and gushing about how amazing this book is!!!!! My adult fantasy readers are definitely going to want to get their hands on this.
What I Liked:
Characters: BECAUSE THEY WERE EPIC AND SO WELL CRAFTED!
Mehr: A QUEEN. A FRICKIN GODDESS. UGH I LOVED HER. LOVE LOVE LOVE HER. *Okay, tone it down Rendz and try to make some sense.* Mehr is an outcast from a sheltered, privileged home. She may have noble blood, but her “barbarian” half is quite defining and she is demeaned for it. Like all lovely main characters, she makes a huge mistake (she had good intentions) and sets path on a new scary, daunting adventure. Serving a man-god, the Maha, despite her lack of faith. Her characterization was spot on. She goes from being this sneaky noble outcast, to a defiant prisoner, to a defeated prisoner and so on. I loved how cunning she was, she was smart and always, always hopeful. She had such growth, it’s not linear and she goes through many setbacks in her journey. And I love the fact that she embraces her mixed heritage whole-heartily and didn’t give one single crap about what people think of her appearance or status. Her voice was impeccable and wow I just CAN’T. IT’S TOO MUCH AMAZINGNESS.
Amun: PROTECT HIM AT ALL COSTS. Seriously. He was almost like a polar opposite of Mehr, where she had the self-love he had a lot of self-hate. His life was tragic and he has reasons to be *that* broody. But he is such a softy and I loved how the author chose to explore his softness (and I don’t know if that sounds dirty, but it’s not I promise XD). His own personal growth made me so happy, I JUST CAN’T.
Other characters…Lalita was fabulous™. Her little chapter snippets were always exciting and held much needed info to understand what was happening outside of the temple where Mehr was. The more antagonistic characters were also pretty great. The Maha was frickin creepy and nasty and ewww, but like he was a great villain. Also, can I just mention Kalini. I won’t spoil…but damn.
Everybody is calling it lush WITH GOOD REASON. I was transported every time I opened the book. I was in the palace with it’s enclosed walls and veiled women. I was in the desert with sand getting into everything. I was in the temple where life was a constant repetition of the day before. The politics. The mythology. The history. It was all so well done. Suri created this amazing atmosphere with her words. It was just so rich and full of amazing wonders. It is inspired by Mughal India and all my knowledge about that period comes from having watched a drama series called Jodha Akbar, so I don’t know much. But what I can tell you is that it is so interesting and beautiful and I would love to learn more.
The Daiva. The dancing. The dreamfire. The storms. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING WAS SO WELL DONE. I mean the magic system comes from the dreams of sleeping gods, how much more epic can it get?? I loved the rituals of the rites, the way the actual magic was performed. It created such beautiful images (you know I will be breaking out my pencils and paints soon).
Wonderful. Atmospheric. Dramatic. It was perfect for the story that it told. I will say I noticed quite a lot of uses of “-Oh” as an interruption, which I just found funny I don’t know why!
It was more than just shipping the two. It was a forced marriage that started distant until the characters befriended each other, supported one another and finally found their love. (It’s not enemies to lovers though…just setting the record straight) It has a powerful message about consent and choice. The importance of allowing people their moment to choose and let it be a decision made from their own heart and mind and not just because of the situation they were in. It was beautiful, like I almost cried.
It’s a RIDE:
It’s action packed, twisty, turny and has all the good stuff! I read this on my commutes to school and tried very hard not to make faces of shock and excitement, but I couldn’t help myself. When I got to a very big twist, I said “oh shit” on a very full bus. Yes, people stared at me. This book was a ride and just when you think things will go as planned, think again.
What I Disliked:
Why did I take off 0.5. Well, I just missed a big moment of shitake (noun: Everything went to shit and the characters are literally not gonna make it. pronounced: shit-aw-key). Like there was moments of really intense despair and sadness…..but it just lacked the OMGWHATTHEHELLAREWEGONNADONOW moment. For me at least. I don’t even know if I am making any sense, I just described myself by using a made up word!
Overall, this book was amazing. I was hooked from page one and was reeled in with every turn of the page. The world is lush, the magic is enchanting, the politics are deceptive and the romance is sweet. But it is undeniably a tale of hope. Hope even when the gods themselves are angry.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: To my Adult Fantasy readers!!!!!!!!!! (Even YA fantasy readers will find something to love in this!)
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking to pick it up? What fantastical worlds would you love to visit?