Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley Beaulieu

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Synopsis: Çeda, the heroine of the widely anticipated, just-released novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this prequel, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf; none but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, an Ehrekh, a sadistic creature forged long ago by the god of chaos. The Ehrekh are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda’s struggle becomes a battle for her very soul.


I always make a point of it (when I can) to read series in the order in which they were published, as in my experience the ability of authors to conceal what they need to conceal varies greatly.

No spoilers.  As always what I aim for, as sometimes what I deliver.

From the beginning.

I actually remember this book coming out, and I immediately didn’t like it.  This was completely superficial.  To me the cover looked exactly how Patrick Rothfuss has his designs for the Kingkiller Chronicle.  Specifically, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, as the length of the books is similar and they’re both hardback.  I realise this is completely unfair, but this is how I felt initially about the book.  The title is a little off as well.  Even before reading the book I thought it was a little odd and clunky.  After reading the book, it still doesn’t entirely fit Ceda.

In theory this book is exactly what I said I wanted in my review of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai; more of Ceda, trying to get into her character and into her head through more time spent in her life.  What you get is more of the same.  Which, like I said earlier, is not actually bad.  Just a little vague and a little slow, without really revealing a huge amount of the characters.  With that in mind you’d think this would be a better story overall.  Shorter, more to the point.  Well, no.  It’s a story-driven book with the focus on her conflict with Rumayesh and a finale that I guess tries to show Ceda’s character but out of which I got next to nothing.  She’s still really vague to me.  This may be a series that will benefit from a re-read, but I’m still not convinced that I will be interested enough to do so.  It could build into an amazing 12-book series, but as the previous series of his was a trilogy I’m not sure he’s bold enough to commit to something like that.

No.

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Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley Beaulieu

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