Title: Empire Of Sand
Author: Tasha Suri
Genre: YA, fantasy
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Series: The Books Of Ambha
A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.
Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…
It’s taken me a long time to write this review because I just cannot articulate how much I love it.
I will say this though, I completely understand the hype now.
This book has been on so many recommendation lists by bloggers I admire and trust, a part of me was a little wary when I actually started reading it that my expectations would not be met. That I would be disappointed, and the story would just fall flat because the book had been so hyped up beforehand.
Safe to say, I was wrong, and I am so glad for it.
The writing in this story is so wonderfully done. The world is built so wonderfully, and all without info-dumping, which is something I worry about sometimes. Everything unfolds with the story, in a very natural way.
Mehr as a protagonist is my darling. I love her little rebellions in the beginning, her tight hold on her Amrithi heritage, but her understanding of her world and her life is slowly deconstructed and then rebuilt into something new. She is a wonderfully strong character who can be a little naive and learns to be vulnerable (especially with my son Amun who I love so much).
I don’t want to say too much about Amun for spoiler reasons, but the way their relationship – arranged marriage and force proximity and growing trust and friendship and the slowest of burns – unfolds is just magical. Their connection and their trust in one another is something that is so wonderfully written. This was one of the best romances I have read in a long time.
Now let’s gush a little about the fact that the magic is based on bharatanatyam dance??? It is so unique, and so passionate, and so colourful, and so rich in a way that I don’t know how to explain. It just hit me in a lot of ways, and I was and am emotional about it all.