About the book:
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.
Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.
Series: Song of Shattered Sands (Book 1)
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: DAW (September 1, 2015)
Buy it now:
I’ve been dying to read Bradley Beaulieu’s book TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI for some time now. But since I write Silk Road-inspired fantasy, myself, I elected to wait until I’d gotten to the ARC stage of THE DRAGON’S LEGACY. I fret about other peoples’ stuff leaking into my book (especially the really good stuff, and I anticipated that this book was full of really good stuff).
TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI was worth the wait. Dude, so good.
I loved that this book is based outside the usual Medieval European milieu, and I loved more that it’s not trope-y desert fantasy filled with hospitable knockoff Bedouins and veiled princesses in peril. This is a rich, new, and skillfully wrought world that I was able to sink into and disappear, and I loved every minute.
I found the world entirely believable and gorgeous, and was rooting for Ceda from the very first sentence on. She’s not perky, she’s not a princess, and she is most certainly NOT waiting for someone to come save her. She’s a driven, skillful, interesting young woman…and a gladiator of sorts, a pit fighter.
Have I mentioned that I loved every minute of it?
If I were to compare this book to any, it would probably be David Anthony Durham’s ACACIA, which I also loved to distraction. Wonder and magic, strange new worlds, impossible odds facing a conflicted and ambiguous heroine…this book is right up my alley. Beaulieu’s writing is gorgeous; it rolls like the soft dunes at times, screams in like a sandstorm at other times, and is always flawlessly executed.
If you love well-written fantasy, and especially if you are hungry for something beyond dreary castles and moldy old dragons, I urge you to go buy this book.
Jai tu wai,