Best Book of 2015 by Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BuzzFeed • “Promises to be breathtaking.” —Robin Hobb
The Song of the Shattered Sands: Book One
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings -- cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.
Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings' laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha'ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings' mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings' power...if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don't find her first.
Beaulieu (the Lays of Anuskaya series) presents a complex alternative-world sword and sorcery setting in this lumbering but effective first entry in the Song of the Shattered Sands series. This big novel takes its time introducing the desert metropolis known as Sharakhai, where 12 immortal lords live in luxury and everyone else scrabbles for scraps. Nineteen-year-old Ceda's mother was executed by the Kings years ago; now Ceda is a hardened gladiator seeking ways to undermine the Kings' magical powers. In addition to Ceda's scheming, the action is driven by her friend Emre, whose hatred of the Kings allies him with the merciless terrorist Macide, and by Ramahd, who is pursuing Macide to avenge his slain wife and child. The novel finally earns its length in a subterranean battle for control of a resurrected blood mage with a private agenda. Overall, this is an impressive performance.