Review: Beneath the Twisted Trees by Bradley P. Beaulieu

42422341I normally listen to the books in this series in audio, because I love the narrator so much, but admittedly, when I saw this one pop up on NetGalley, I couldn’t help but jump on the chance to read it a little early. I am… so patient. 😀

So thanks to the author, as well as Berkley via NetGalley for the review copy. 🙂

When a battle to eradicate the Thirteenth Tribe goes awry, the kingdoms bordering the desert metropolis of Sharakhai see the city as weak and ripe for conquest. Çeda, now leader of the Shieldwives, a band of skilled desert swordswomen, hopes to use the growing chaos to gain freedom for Sehid-Alaz, the ancient, undying king of her people. Freeing him is only the beginning, however. Like all the people of her tribe on that fateful night four centuries earlier, Sehid-Alaz was cursed, turned into an asir, a twisted, miserable creature beholden to the kings of Sharakhai–to truly free her king, Çeda must break the chains that bind him.

As Sharakhai’s enemies close in and the assault on the city begins, Çeda works feverishly to unlock the mysteries of the asirim’s curse. But danger lies everywhere. Enemy forces roam the city; the Blade Maidens close in on her; her own father, one of the kings of Sharakhai, wants Çeda to hang. Worst of all, the gods themselves have begun to take notice of Çeda’s pursuits.

When the combined might of Sharakhai and the desert gods corner the survivors of the Thirteenth Tribe in a mountain fastness, the very place that nearly saw their annihilation centuries ago, Çeda knows the time has come. She was once an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai. She has been an assassin in dark places. A weapon poised to strike from the shadows. A voice from the darkness, striving to free her people.

No longer.

Now she’s going to lead.

The age of the Kings is coming to an end . . .

Glory from war is a mirage. It will fade, and when it does, you’ll see it was misery all along.

Oh Çeda. You get into the most amazing shenanigans. Better and better ones as this series goes.

Okay, so, since this is book four, I’m going to do my level best to avoid spoilers.

Çeda and her Shieldwives are intent on freeing Sehid-Alaz, the king of the cursed asirim, from the clutches of the Kings of Sharakhai. Meanwhile, the kingdoms surrounding Sharakhai are taking the opportunity to try and conquer the city, and everyone is caught up in the chaos. Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnn.

This installment in the Song of the Shattered Sands follows several characters that we have met and come to know fairly well over the course of the series, but Çeda is still the main character of my heart. ❤ Well, Emre is a close second. They aren’t together much in this installment… but they both have very important parts to play in the world of the Shattered Sands, and they just happen to be in different areas. Çeda spends a pretty good deal of this story being the badass I know she is though, and so I didn’t have to try at all to cheer for her to win the day.

I found myself cheering more and more for characters I was largely indifferent towards up until this point, like Brama, who is with the Mirean fleet, dealing as well as he can with a mysterious illness that has broken out. Also, Davud and Ramahd, who have come together in this book and are using all kinds of blood magic to stop the Queen of Qaimir from enacting horrible shenanigans on everyone, as well as attempting a rescue of a friend who was captured by one of the Kings.

This was a well written and engaging story with plenty of twists and turns making it exciting and hard to put down. The world in this series is so well built that I can very easily imagine myself in a desert while I’m reading it. A vast, sandy desert that one can sail across in massive sand ships. But it’s the characters that really bring this world to life.

Things happened in this one that left me with questions about the fate of certain characters, but it wrapped up this installment enough that I was still satisfied with the story and yet will eagerly await the next volume. Eagerly, eagerly await perhaps, due to the aforementioned fate of certain characters. ^_^

Up until this point in the series, I have listened to the audiobooks (they have a fantastic narrator, if you’re into that kind of thing). I have to say that I kind of missed the narration aspect, but it was interesting picking up a print copy of a series you’ve only listened to. Especially given that this one has so many interesting names in it, like Çedamihn, Sümeya, Külaşan, and Kameyl, that I would definitely been stumbling over how to pronounce if it wasn’t for the audiobooks I had listened to prior to this. Plus, I imagined many of the characters names in the narrator’s voice, which is always a plus. This might be one that I’ll have to buy in audio when credit day comes around, as it would be a great credit investment. 🙂

All told, I really liked this installment of the Song of Shattered Sands, and I very much look forward to the last two books in the series. I can’t wait to see how it ends, because the stuff that’s happened up until now has been pretty bonkers! I definitely had 4.5/5 stars of fun with this book. Çeda for the win!~


Thanks again to the author, as well as Berkley via NetGalley for the review copy.

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