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.
Before I started reading Sunbolt, I already knew that I liked the way Intisar wrote so I actualy approached this book with a little trepidation. Often when I love an author’s book that much, I worry that their other works won’t compare. Fortunately, on this occasion, I found myself once more blown away by the writing in this story. It was a short novella story that pulled me in straight away and kept me captivated until the very end. It was an entertaining read and the exact thing that I needed to help pull me out of the reading slump that I had been in. It would be impossible not to recommend this read to others – especially when I am now waiting on tender hooks for the next book in the series!
Hitomi is on the run. She’s in hiding. And all she wants is to live her life the best she can. She wants to help and she wants to do it in her own way, but with the permission of her leader. Already from the start you can see that she is a strong character and this is only continuously confirmed throughout the story. The story is set in a fantasy world of eleven kingdoms and while there was a lot of information to take in the beginning, it was easy to assimilate into this world. I found all of the different creatures and people in the story really entertaining, and I loved the descriptions of the world. But, above all of it, the thing that really astounded me as I read this book was the plot. I loved the flow that it took, the twists that occured and I just found it to be a really unique and interesting plot. There is never a moment of boredom where you wish to put the book down or wish for it to speed up, but it does make you urge characters on, feel emotions for them, and just feel like you want to pray for them. Which is exactly what you want in a plot.
We Must Always
It would be difficult to write this review without mentioning how much I absolutely adored Hitomi. This is a character who is fierce, loyal, protective, kick-ass, and just incredibly caring and kind. She is the epitome of a fiery heroine and suits the story so well. She carries the story, even when things don’t go quite as plan, she uses her strength and power to change things. But she is always just trying to do the right thing. I instantly connected with her as a character and just cannot wait to see what else she will do in the next book. She is just a really likeable character that is easy to root for. I also really liked Val’s character, I found him to be a little mysterious but also protective, caring, and hidden. There’s something beneath the surface of him that you can almost feel but that never quite makes it. I just found that to be such a lovely thing to see in a character. It is clear to see that Intisar knows what she is doing when it comes to writing believable and likeable characters.
Overall this was a story that I am incredibly glad that I got around to reading. It is full of action, fist-pumping characters, and a compelling plot that keeps you turning the pages and has you feeling sad when the book finally ends. It is such a unique and interesting story that I really cannot wait for the next one. Some of the world-building could have been dealt with a little better, and there are some things that I would like to know more about – which would be difficult in first person – but these are just personal issues of mine that I had with the book. If you’re a lover of fantasy stories that involve magic, mystical creatures, different kingdoms, and tonnes of action, then this is definitely a book that I would recommend that you pick up. Or, if you’re looking for something new than I would definitely recommend you to read this one. Either way, you’d be missing out if you don’t give this book a go.
** I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the cost of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. Intisar currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, she wrote grants and developed 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. Intisar’s latest projects include a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, featuring a new heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife … and of course, she’s hard at work on the remaining installments of The Sunbolt Chronicles.