Hello, hello! June was a really mixed reading month for me, I ended up going though a bit of a reading slump mid way through the month, and I only managed to finish 6 books. Luckily, my last two reads made up for the slightly sub par month and made sure I ended on a high. One a queer epic fantasy with a world I simply fell into and another a dark and twisty thriller/horror that made sure I slept with the light on! Non reading wise I managed a cheeky week away to Scotland which I seriously needed after the last 18 months, I spent most of the time by the beach and then had a few days in Edinburgh to finish it off.
The Jasmine Throne
Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.
But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.
“Power doesn’t have to be the way the regent and your rebels make it be,” Priya said eventually, making do with her own artless words, her own simple knowledge of the way the world worked. “Power can be looking after people. Keeping them safe, instead of putting them into danger.”
“Subtlety was cultivated out of necessity, by people who knew that power needed to be treated with care –who understand how easily it could be stolen or taken.”
“Malini looked at Priya’s face. Thought, I do not know this woman at all.
And yet that did not frighten her as it should have. She knew how many faces people possessed, one hidden beneath the other, good and monstrous, brave and cowardly, all of them true.”
As soon as I read the last words of The Jasmine Throne I just knew it would become one of my all time favourite reads and with it Suri would become an insta buy author. I was blown away by both the character and world-building, Suri creates a continent you can traverse with ease and I am incredibly eager to get my hands on book two.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
“I stare at El’s self-portrait. She’s angry -seething- I can see the hate in her eyes, the press of her lips over teeth that I know are gritted. But under all that anger I know there is fear. I still know her enough to see that. I wonder who put it there.”
“I’ve never had the same difficulty remembering our second life as I do our first.”
“There was never a time when Mirrorland didn’t feel real; when we couldn’t feel the wind and rain and wonder of it, or smell the sea and smoke and sweat. But sometimes, Mirrorland felt very real, and those were the times when we were clever or cruel or afraid.”
I’m not the biggest fan of thrillers, but Mirrorlands mix of thriller, horror and magical realism made this a unique and twisty read I simply couldn’t put down. Johnstone’s atmospheric writing has you right there with Cat as she discovers the secrets of her past, and the twists and turns made sure you were glued to the book until the very last line.