Getting back into the swing of things with this brand new release from a debut author. I was very excited to read this and it definitely did not disappoint!
About the Book
Title: The Stardust Thief
Author: Chelsea Abdullah
Series: The Sandsea Trilogy #1
Edition Read: Hardcover
Dates Read: May 25-28, 2022
Blurb: Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.
Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.
This book was an absolutely gorgeous read! I have really enjoyed reading fantasy that is so different and more diverse than what I grew up with; that is, mostly white, British-based, inspired by Arthurian legend or Tolkien or somewhere in between. This book was a breath of fresh air. Warm, desert air.
Starting off with the main character – I absolutely loved Loulie. She lost her family and her entire tribe at a young age, but that didn’t stop her. She is first and foremost a survivor. She figured out how to make a life for herself, with the help of her bodyguard and companion, Qadir, becoming the famed Midnight Merchant, someone who can find treasures that no one else can. Speaking of Qadir, he was one of my favorite parts of the book. There was always a hint of mystery about him but I don’t think I was prepared to find out exactly what he was hiding. I had a few suspicions, but they were completely blown out of the water (and I’m definitely not telling you any more than that – it’s a surprise).
I also loved Mazen, the third son of the sultan. He is a quiet, studious young man who has not been allowed to leave the palace grounds, and while he yearns for freedom and adventure, he still isn’t quite prepared when it lands in his lap. Watching him grow throughout the story was very rewarding and I can’t wait to see where his journey continues.
And then there is Aisha. She is an absolute badass. That’s all I’m going to say.
I loved this story and the world it created. The Sandsea was an extremely interesting aspect. Shifting sands that look like waves, capable of swallowing entire cities, hiding all sorts of mysteries. Loved it. I also loved the jinn, their relics, and how their magic was interwoven into the world of humans. We meet quite a few of them, some good, some evil, some extremely ambiguous, all of which have agendas of their own. It’s enough to keep anyone guessing.
There were several twists throughout the story but there were major twists at the end that I never saw coming and completely changed how I thought about several of the main characters. This book is set up to be the first book in a trilogy and it definitely has me hooked. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next from this author.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars
Categories: Books I've Read