Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
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…
One thing I learned while taking this picture is a I need a more ornate knife/dagger.
Empire of Sand was one of those preorder I did that I am not sure what sold me initially on it, but I think it was the Mughal India and the magic system. And I am ever so glad that I preordered and bought.
I enjoyed this book SO much. Mehr isn’t the perfect strong female character. She has lived a sheltered life and despite having ordeals, those are minor compared to what is to come.
Because she is half Amrithi, she has been kept mostly in the dark about a lot of her heritage, to “blank” it out and to make sure she fits nicely in her father’s world. Sadly no one really bothered to explain much as to why this was a good thing and how this was a way to protect her (but I mean, adults do, do this and then there is politics and sometimes the less we know the safer we are in a way).
The world, or rather the Empire, is very well built and I could easily picture it in my head. And Mehr is a very real character. She has flaws, she has a temper (but not the “plot only” type of temper, but rather the kind that sometimes is triggered when you are tired or hangry, or just someone rubs you the wrong way, you know that kind, the one you regret soon enough), and she has a love for dancing. Oh and she has magic, but she’s just one of many that have magic.
Then she catches the eye of the Mara and well, she’s suddenly in a more sticky situation than what she thought wasn’t ideal life. I loved the concept of what an oath/promise means to the Amrithi, and I absolutely adored the relationship between Mehr and Amun was one of my favourite things. I kept cooing at them and just thinking that I wish there were romances as nice as this and wow was he a soft man inside and just aww. It is my favourite type of romance, what I call “love comes softly”.
I am a mess doing this review because I enjoyed this book so much. It is a delightful one in the style of Trudi Canavan, Robin Hobb, Robin McKinley and the rest of the wonderful female writers, and I just wanted to be part of that world (even if it is a harsh one).
The Daiva are also a wonderful element of the story as is all the lore that makes it so rich. I highly recommend this book.
(One caveat, do not come at it thinking it is a Western book and do not expect a YA book, despite the character’s age. This book explores topics in a way that isn’t exactly YA centric and is more an adult SFF book than a younger audince, this however doesn’t mean a teenager won’t enjoy it, more on how to approach it to avoid feeling out of sorts with it).