Goodreads Rating: 4.28 / 5 Stars
My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
This is a brilliantly magical and stunning story.
The characters are amazing and I loved Karina from the beginning. I didn’t expect to like Malik as much as I did and his character development was gradual but significant. Malik is quiet and unassuming but truly he has so many facets to his character and he grows so much. Karina is stubborn and clever. She thinks fast and I really loved her determination.
The story is exciting and has elements I love the most when it comes to fantasy. It has interesting and unique magic which is rooted in the history of the world. There is a tournament aspect to the book and a good challenge always makes for an exciting quest trope.
One of my favourite things about this book was the setting and world-building. It is so intricately thought out and the setting adds a fantastic atmosphere to the already great story. There are gods and history that add richness to the story. The magic system and history are really interesting and I’d love to read a physical copy of the book so that I can absorb all of the small intricate details that make this such a stunning setting. Since I listened to the audiobook it’s difficult to comment more because when I listen to audiobooks I don’t always take in the same details.
The ending is so good and I’m so excited to see what happens next.
Happy Reading !