BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveller. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah, on the coast of the Red Sea. Intisar used to write grants and develop projects to address community health and infant mortality with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles, and the Dauntless Path novels, beginning with Thorn.
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
Length: 152 Pages
Age Category: Middle Young Adult
Date Published: 17 June 2013
Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Sunbolt-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00DE2RXEM (Canada)
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani was by far my favourite read from BBNYA last year. It contains all of the things I love, a brilliant and strong female MC, folklore/mythology and plenty of action and adventure for such a small novel. Orphaned at a young age Hitomi has had to hide her magical ability to stay safe on the streets of Karolene. She spends her days working for the Shadow League, an underground movement working to remove the Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame who has taken over control of the country. When the league gets word that Blackflame intends to execute a political family that oppose him, Hitomi volunteers to help with their escape, but there are bigger things at stake and Hitomi quickly finds herself whisked away to a place where it will take everything within her to escape with her life.
Hitomi is a great MC. She’s someone who has never fit in thanks to her mixed origins and the only place she feels she can do any good is amongst the Shadow League. She is someone who carries a great amount of trauma, but also a secret, a secret that could see her killed. Hitomi is a promise, someone with a magical ability. She was trained in secret by her parents before they died, but now Hitomi has to use it sparingly to avoid detection. She’s feisty, loyal and incredibly strong but boy does she go on a journey in this book and I adored following her along.
Alongside Hitomi, Khanani introduces us to a world of well built characters, which is impressive considering the word count. We meet members of the Shadow League, as well as other characters that Hitomi meets on her somewhat perilous journey, my favourite being Val, someone she forms an unlikely alliance with. It’s hard to talk about a lot of the characters because of spoilers, but they are all incredibly well developed despite their lack of page time.
Sunbolt almost reads as three different stories in one, and considering it’s such a small book, coming in at just over 120 pages, that is a feat. I think that book two is considerably longer than the first, so we might get more development in it, but I would have preferred more world building. We kind of get dropped into the world head first, with little to no information so it did take me a while to get my head around the magic system, political landscape and creatures that reside in her world. That being said, I do feel like any information we get is naturally introduced through the story and never comes across as info dumpy.
Khanani’s writing style is lush and envelopes you in her world. It’s incredibly easy to get swept away by the story, which I think is what kept me interested despite the book almost reading like multiple different stories in one. There are plenty of plot twists and she still manages to deliver multiple emotional punches. It’s a story that I absolutely flew through and a world I can’t wait to return too… I might already have book two on my kindle ready to go. It reads almost like a pre-novella introducing you to the world and characters before we get really stuck into the story and I for one cannot wait to see what Hitomi gets up to next.
Great review! I totally agree that for the page length, this packed so much in it. I also wished that the world-building had been done better, especially in terms of the historical context and the magic system, but I thought the characters were so well done. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing the series cos I really enjoyed Khanani’s writing 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person