My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Western, Magic, Romance, War
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.
Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.
The series’ covers do not match! Why, oh why?
Tragedy aside, this shiny book took me longer than necessary to read. And it wasn’t because it wasn’t interesting, just very, very—pack of turtles running a marathon—slow.
The setting is unusual. It’s not everyday that I read a book set in the desert. That makes for a bleak visual world-building, I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t impressed by the description of places, no shock there.
Fortunately, I loved the mystical creatures presented, if I dare use that word. Until we actually meet one of those creatures, they are talked about as if they were fairytale characters, like they may exist… somewhere. I had no idea this was the magic mentioned in the blurb.
For a debut, it’s pretty well done. For a first in a new series, it’s not bad at all. It starts with action and ends with action. In between, however, it’s less Formula 1 and more Dora the Explorer. The danger is not as present and the walking and riding and escaping seem to be eternal.
So thank goodness for a strong, three-dimensional and witty heroine to keep us company during this uncertain period of cat and mouse chase. There’s talk of a war… that’s on the brink of combustion somewhere… but we have to wait a long time before being privy to any juicy detail concerning it. Talk about building suspense.
When I got to the end I couldn’t stop reading. The last 1/3 of the book is really something. It should have been like that all along in my opinion. The camaraderie and danger reminded me of the heist in Fast Five. Get the moneeeeeey. Get the poweeeeer. Do it. Do it. Dare to make a change.
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