I won this little gem of a novella in a giveaway some months ago, but I’ve not had the time to sit down and read it (yes, even keeping in mind that it only takes a couple of hours, lol). Well, finally had a bit of time to dive right in, and dive I did!
In the western reaches of the Great Shangazi Desert, the long-distance horse race known as Annam’s Traverse is about to begin. All is thrown in doubt, however, when Sukru the Reaping King arrives unannounced from Sharakhai and puts forth a champion of his own.
For a young woman named Leorah, the more important matter is the fabled amethyst ring offered up as a prize. She knows of the ring, and becomes obsessed with winning the race. This horrifies her twin sister, Devorah, who knows more of the ring’s secrets than Leorah, and is desperate to hide them from the Reaping King.
As the race unfolds, and King Sukru’s champion comes closer and closer to winning the prize, Devorah stumbles upon a secret that puts not only the ring’s future in doubt, but her sister’s as well.
The following day, dozens more ships arrived. Horses were carried on many of them, tall beasts with glittering coats of iron and copper and brass and gold. These were the akhalas, the giants of the desert, horses that pastured in the mountains while the tribes sailed the sands of the Great Shangazi on their fleets of sandships.
I’m quite enjoying my foray into the Song of the Shattered Sands series, and this one takes place somewhere in between book 2 and 3. However, it’s not necessary to know any of the goings on in the series, as this takes place outside of the city of Sharakhai, and follows different characters than the series. So, if you wanted to have a go at the Shattered Sands series without committing to a book that is quite long, you could start right here. This is a good example of the series as a whole, in my opinion.
This is the story of Devorah and Leorah, who are orphaned twin sisters of the much taboo thirteenth tribe of the desert, now tribeless, taken in by another tribe and hidden from the kings of Sharakhai (who don’t like the thirteenth tribe… because… reasons… spoilery reasons. :D). There is a long distance horse race in the desert, that three of the tribes have traveled to race in, each tribe contributing a fabulous prize. It’s set to begin very soon, and to Devorah and Leorah’s surprise, the prize for winning that their new tribe has put in the pot is an amethyst ring that was left to them by their mother. One that they left in the care of the Shaikh of their new tribe with the caveat that they would be able to work it off and get it back. Turns out this ring is… something special. So special that it has come to the attention of one of the kings of Sharakhai, and he has come and put a champion in the race to win it for him.
This was a wonderfully fast-paced novella full of twists and turns, really fantastic characters that I rooted for. I wasn’t expecting a novella to grab my attention and hold it quite like this one did. I started this one for something short to read in the tub. >.> Before I knew it, the bath had run a little overlong, but I was wrinkly, but very, very engrossed in this novella. Plot twists, and magic, and intrigue, oh my.
Really well done novella. I’m more excited than ever to listen to A Veil of Spears (I’ll get there soon. SOOOON!~)
This is a solid 5/5 stars. I was in the bathtub and still felt like I was in the desert at various points of this story. How in the actual? >.>