Thanks to Caffeine Book Tours and Orbit Books for having me on the blog tour and for sending me a review copy.
A captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.
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.
Ah, feels good to have read a book after such a long time and what a book it was!
I have always admired Tasha Suri’s writing ever since I read The Books of Ambha series and it wasn’t a surprise that Tasha has written a stunner of a novel yet again. One thing that I have noticed with her writing is that she writes slow-burn romances and I am all here for it!
Themes of colonialism has been a recurring subject in most of Tasha’s books that I have read and she writes about it just the way it should be portrayed; without romanticizing it. The writing is vivid and expressive, like for instance, the way Tasha described the scene where Priya accidentally sees Malini when she was imprisoned in Hirana; how the rot was destroying the lives of people and how she was on a mission to find sacred wood (the temporary antidote) to heal the people.
In the beginning it was a little difficult for me to get into the story since I am still new to epic fantasy but once I kept reading, it turned out to be an immersive experience. The story builds up in the beginning and we get details about the politics involved and also get to know more about the characters. But once we get to the main action part, it gets quite interesting. And, lets not forget the enemies to lovers plot, alright? I mean, is there anything better than to witness morally grey lesbian characters fighting against their attraction but failing miserably?
There definitely were a lot of characters but it didn’t get overwhelming as I thought it would be. The main focus was on the main characters, princess Malini and the maidservant, Priya. It was really interesting to see Malini and Priya’s interest for each other. All the characters were multilayered; Malini had a quiet rage within herself and plotted plans on how she can take down her brother who was responsible for forcing her into exile; Priya was shown to be thoughtful and caring but she also had a secret that she was hiding; Bhumika was portrayed as a sensible and practical character.
I was rooting for Malini and Priya from the beginning and I can guarantee I wasn’t the only person who squealed during the waterfall scene! *heart eyes*
Overall I loved the book and I am looking forward to this series.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:
There is no meaning in the universe: no fate, no high blood, no rights of kings over land. Everything is emptiness. The world only had meaning when we give it meaning.
“She could make herself into something monstrous. She could be a creature born of poison and pyre, flame and blood.”
“There are other versions of you that I don’t know. But this one…” Her fingers were against Malini’s lips. “This one is mine.”*swoon*
So, yes, go ahead and read this magical book as soon as possible!
About Tasha Suri
Tasha Suri is the award-winning author of The Books of Ambha duology (Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash) and the epic fantasy The Jasmine Throne. She is an occasional librarian and cat owner. She has won the Best Newcomer (Sydney J. Bounds) Award from the British Fantasy Society and has been nominated for the Astounding Award and Locus Award for Best First Novel. When she isn’t writing, Tasha likes to cry over TV shows, buy too many notebooks, and indulge her geeky passion for reading about South Asian history. She lives with her family in a mildly haunted house in London.