jpskewedthrone: (Default)
This is a novella featuring the characters from Bradley P. Beaulieu's "Shattered Sands" series.

Premise: Ceda is a pit fighter who catches the eye of an ehrekh, an evil creature created ages ago by the god of chaos. She attempts to escape, but this only makes her more interesting in the ehrekh's eyes. The more Ceda resists, the more the ehrekh wants her. How can Ceda escape the clutches of a creature that's part god?

This is really a story in three parts, each part a short story in an of itself, all connected. Overall, the story is good, the best part probably the last. Ceda is a great character and the world where people sail the sands like we sail the ocean is spectacular. The weakest part in this story is the middle part. Not because it isn't a complete short on its own, but it didn't have the depth that the other two parts had; it read a little more perfunctory than the other parts. I felt the characterizations were best in the first and last parts, especially of the ehrekh. But still, an enjoyable addition to the novels in the this series.
jpskewedthrone: (Shattering)
Twelve Kinds in Sharakhai is Bradley P. Beaulieu's first novel with DAW Books and the start of a new and interesting series. I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes this.





Premise: Ceda lives in Sharakhai, a city in the middle of the desert that's ruled by twelve Kings who made a pact with the gods centuries earlier in order to survive. But their rule is tyrannical, the populace kept in line by the Blade Maidens and the Silver Spears. The Kings killed Ceda's mother when she was a child and she's vowed revenge. Using the clues left to her by her mother, she hopes to complete what her mother started and bring the Kings down, one by one. But the clues are frustrating and difficult to unravel, and the Kings near impossible to get close to, protected by the Maidens. The only way to reach them may be for Ceda to become a Blade Maiden herself.

This is a great start to a fantasy epic, with all of the details that will make for a compelling story. Probably the books' strongest suit is the worldbuilding and the world itself, which is full of life, provides a unique setting, and has a compelling history. Ships that sail on the sands and the creatures that haunt the thorny forest that surrounds the city are but a few of the interesting elements that bring Sharakhai to life. The reader will want to unravel the mysteries Ceda is presented with along with her. The two main characters--Ceda and Emre--are likeable and draw you into their own personal stories, with flashbacks that show you their backstories and how their lives became so intertwined.

My only complaint is that there are obviously many more books to come in the series (at no point does the author try to hide this fact, so it's not a surprise) so only one main plot thread has been finished by the end of the book, leaving many other threads hanging. It's obvious that Emre's story has just begun, for example. But the ending is still satisfying, while still leaving the reader wanting more.

Overall, a great start to what I hope is a spectacular series. I'm interested in exploring this world further, and following Ceda and Emre on whatever paths destiny sends them.

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Joshua Palmatier

March 2019

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