Empire of Sand

Author: Tasha Suri
Page Count:496
Rating: A
Format Read: Galley
Genre: Fantasy
Keywords: Daeva, Mughal Empire, Vows
Kid Appropriate: Teen and older

I absolutely loved this lush Indian inspired fantasy! The influences from Indian culture and the history of the Mughal Empire made this a fascinating read while our main characters easily capture your heart.

Mehr is a prickly heroine that deals with the struggles of duty, identity, and place in a way that will resonate with a variety of readers. Anyone searching for a strong female character that is far from being a damsel in distress will grow to adore her. Her romance in this book is one of the least problematic I have seen in a long time as well. I loved rooting for them and that it wasn’t the main point of the story, but rather a delightful addition.

I also enjoyed the motivations for our villains. No one was evil simply to be evil. Instead, they were often people with their own motivations and insecurities, adding a depth of reality to them.

I completely agree with the statement that this is for fans of City of Brass and also YA readers who are looking for something similar to Rebel of the Sands. I really enjoyed that while this is an adult fantasy it would be incredibly easy for someone only familiar with YA fantasy to venture into the adult high fantasy world. This is also true for people who may not normally read fantasy. The elements of mystery and romance that wind through the tale can draw in a wide array of readers.

The Phoenix Empress

Author: K Arsenault Rivera
Page Count:
Rating: D
Format Read: Galley
Genre: Fantasy
Keywords: LGBTQ+, Asian Inspired, Gods
Kid Appropriate: No

I genuinely loved The Tiger’s Daughter, devouring it over the span of four days despite its large page count. When I received a galley copy of The Phoenix Empress I expected to love it just as much and be taken on a fresh adventure fueled by love and mythology. Instead, a month of reading has resulted in frustration and disappointment.

Writing a book is no easy feat and having to give negative reviews is not pleasant when I think about all of the work that goes into the writing and publishing of a book. However, I have to agree with many of the other negative reviews I read on Goodreads. At over 500 pages, 75% of this book could have been cut out. It served no purpose and for the first half of the book, I felt as if literally nothing was happening. Reading pointless material is not encouraging and I can see many readers DNFing this book. If all of the more pointless material had been cut and the small amount of relevant material been added to the next book (which I genuinely hope to enjoy) I think the story would have flowed so much more smoothly.

Unlikable character development, a sluggish plot, and pointless flowery phrases made this book impossible for me to love.

You can see the review for The Tiger’s Daughter here: https://santantimes.com/adventures-in-obsessive-reading/

About the Author of Adventures In Obsessive Reading

Ms. Winkle is an author and book blogger. Bleeding Heart is the first installment in her Guardian Chronicles series and her first novel. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana, an MA in International Security from the University of Arizona. When she isn’t studying she can usually be found with a dog and a book.