First Lines: The girl was eleven and three-quarters. Three very important quarters. They’d been of consequence when her father had left her in charge this morning, with an important task to accomplish.
I grabbed this at the library some time ago, meaning to finish off this duology and cross another series off my list. Only it languished on my shelf for most of the summer. I hate having to renew books, so when this came up for renewal again, I decided I needed to read it and be done.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
There once was a time Shahrzad thought that the Caliph of Khorasan was a monster and a killer. But now, ripped from her husband’s arms after a brutal storm and a curse that threatens to keep them separated, Shahrzad can’t help but miss the man she now knows Khalid to be. Reunited with her family, Shazi is far from safe. Deep in the desert lie enemies, waiting for the right moment to strike the battered Caliph where it hurts the most. Shazi finds herself trapped between loyalty to her family and friends from before she married and her husband. Using the magic inside of her, Shazi sets off the break the curse…but she have to dodge enemies of her own making along the way.
I’m just going to come right out and say that my review of this book is tainted by the fact that I really don’t remember much of the first book, apparently. As I started reading this book, I realized how little I remembered of the plot and characters. It made it dreadfully hard for me to sink into the story and enjoy it. So read my review with a grain of salt.
Things that I loved: the strength of the female cast. And we’re not just talking about Shazi here, though she’s definitely a fiery one. All of the females, even the quiet ones, had a moment to show either their physical, mental, or emotional strength in one form or another. I adored that. I’m all for giving girls awesome role models like this. What was super awesome was that even the girls who consider themselves “mousy” in this story still found ways to stand up for themselves. And I truly think that girls need to see that as a strength. The older I get, the more I find that quiet strength inside of me.
This story is totally a tangled web of intricacies, which was fun to try to untangle. Loyalties are constantly being called into question, relationships aren’t as clear as you think, and events constantly overlap unexpectedly. It was fun to read because there was always something to pay attention to.
I did think the plot was interesting, but I found myself also getting bored at times because I couldn’t remember the first book very well. Like, I enjoyed what Shazi was trying to do. But then the narrator would shift to a minor character, like Irsa who I didn’t remember in the slightest and then I just couldn’t get into the story as much. It wasn’t until closer to the end when the action picked up that I finally started getting back into the action. And, of course by then I knew who the characters were again.
I guess I was expecting a lot out of this book too, given how good I remember the first book being. Not that this one was bad, but I wanted it to be this epic romantic saga and it…wasn’t. Parts are pretty awesome, maybe close to being epic, but it was never able to sustain that power. And I didn’t feel like the romance was really there either, except for a few cute moments in the story. Again, far from the romantic story I was expecting.
I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I just couldn’t get into this book. It had many redeeming qualities, so it wasn’t a waste of time, but I wasn’t thrilled by it either.