Originally posted on 28 Dec 2023

1 minute read

This book caught my eye as I was browsing the fiction stacks at the library. It seemed promising. Fantasy? Check! Woman author? Check! Non-Euro author name? Check! There could be a unique story and perspective here. This could be something interesting.

Alas, it wasn’t. I fought to reach halfway through before I recognised how little I was enjoying the book, closed it, and moved on to one that should be a better use of my time.

I had such high hopes, too. Saladin Ahmed blurbed it, and I really like his work. The story has a Middle Eastern-ish setting, which normally I enjoy a lot since it’s not the same ol’ swords & castles stuff I’ve read most of my life. The protagonist is a powerful woman, which should allow the story to break out of the standard mold in other ways.

Unfortunately, the author couldn’t pull it off. The magic system was janky, more magic than system. The protagonist spends a lot of her time ignoring her quest and her lifelong beliefs to moon around breathlessly after a man who treats her horribly. The woman who’s her companion is black (yay!), and this is her single defining characteristic (boo). The story is choppy, the backstory more so. It was not fun to read.