Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
The writing in this book is simply gorgeous. Lyrical, divine sentences. Rich descriptions that somehow never feel like they're slowing down the pace.
Also, an important warning: this is not stand alone.
Shahrzad is a fascinating heroine. She's out for revenge, but she's willing to bide her time to ensure her success. She's razor sharp in wit. She knows who she is and has no fucks to give about anyone else's attempts to contain her. And yet, she isn't so arrogant or so consumed by vengeance to fail to be a sharp observer, realizing that things in the palace do not add up.
I'm not quite as enthralled with the Caliph. While he has more depth than he seems, he's still accurately describes as an impetuous youth prone to violence. His trust issues take far too long to resolve, and once they do, it seems beyond belief that he would ever have spoken to Shahrzad.
I also have a hard time with neither he, nor his most trusted guards not knowing who Tariq was before he ever entered the palace. Ok, minor spoilers, but only minor: at some point, the Caliph hosts a gathering that all the important families receive invitations to. Not a spoiler: this same Caliph has been randomly selecting brides and murdering them for months before the start of the book. Somehow, nobody considers, I don't know, cross-referencing the list of invitations against the list of families who's daughters he's murdered?! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?! I mean, even to people who aren't inner circle enough to know why he keeps killing girls, this should be a no brainer. But, alas, Tariq's father is invited, and Tariq arrives in his place - no disguise, no subterfuge, and nobody knows who he is?
That aside, I really enjoyed the plot, and I look forward to the sequel.