"RAISES THE BAR FOR WHAT EPIC FANTASY SHOULD BE." —Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights
A ruthless princess and a powerful priestess come together to rewrite the fate of an empire in this “fiercely and unapologetically feminist tale of endurance and revolution set against a gorgeous, unique magical world” (S. A. Chakraborty).
Exiled by her despotic brother, princess Malini spends her days dreaming of vengeance while imprisoned in the Hirana: an ancient cliffside temple that was once the revered source of the magical deathless waters but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
The secrets of the Hirana call to Priya. But in order to keep the truth of her past safely hidden, she works as a servant in the loathed regent’s household, biting her tongue and cleaning Malini’s chambers.
But when Malini witnesses Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a ruthless princess seeking to steal a throne. The other a powerful priestess desperate to save her family. Together, they will set an empire ablaze.
"An intimate, complex, magical study of empire and the people caught in its bloody teeth. I loved it.” —Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
"Gripping and harrowing from the very start." —R. F. Kuang, author of The Poppy War
"Suri’s incandescent feminist masterpiece hits like a steel fist inside a velvet glove. Simply magnificent." —Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun
"A fierce, heart-wrenching exploration of the value and danger of love in a world of politics and power." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This cutthroat and sapphic novel will grip you until the very end." —Vulture (Best of the Year)
"Lush and stunning....Inspired by Indian epics, this sapphic fantasy will rip your heart out." —BuzzFeed News
Suri (the Books of Ambha series) astounds with the spellbinding epic fantasy that launches her Burning Kingdoms trilogy. When Princess Malini, the sister of Parijatdvipa's Emperor Chandra, refuses to sacrifice her life to secure her ruthless brother's throne, he imprisons her in the Hirana, a treacherous labyrinthine temple in the conquered country of Ahiranya. There, Priya, an Ahiranyi temple child with secret elemental powers, acts as her maidservant. Malini plots to secure her freedom while Priya seeks to understand her own tragic past. As the pair grow closer, both must weigh their loyalty to their respective countries and people with their partnership and growing feelings for each other. The result is a fierce, heart-wrenching exploration of the value and danger of love in a world of politics and power. Though it takes time to settle into the complex magic system and extensive cast, Suri's confident and passionate prose expertly guides the reader throughout. This is a blade-sharp, triumphant start to what promises to be an exciting series. \n
Cannot wait for more
this book was achingly romantic and fateful, with beautiful prose that didn’t dawdle. The politics, characters, complex motivations, and grey morality pull you in, and the sapphic love keeps you in.