Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Review: "Sunbolt" by Intisar Khanani


Sunbolt (The Sunbolt Chronicles #1)
by Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 17th 2013

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

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About the Author

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 coast 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. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health 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 next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.
Author Links:
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The city where Hitomi has lived for the past four years—after her father died and her mother went missing—is being taken over by an evil sorcerer. Hitomi desires to join The Ghost and his Shadow League in order to fight back, but many of the members are opposed to allowing a foreign, orphaned teenager into their midst. What can she offer in aid? But Hitomi has more than one secret that could help…or condemn her to slavery or death.

Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani was pretty awesome. I read and loved another of the author’s books, Thorn, and so had high expectations for this one. Sunbolt did not disappoint. The weave of characters and the layers of the plot were enough to make me long to read the next book.

Hitomi was an interesting character. She was a pickpocket whenever she could not find work. She was not exactly homeless, but still unprotected by family or a guardian. And she was a tad reckless—so desiring to help or prove her worth that she was willing to go to dangerous lengths. Despite being a pickpocket, Hitomi had strong morals to protect the weak and helpless, even when helping them put herself in danger. That was what made me love her as a character.

The world-building was intriguing also. There were eleven nations, if I remember correctly, and the characters visited a couple of them. Even those few were enough to see a large difference in climate and culture, which would be present in any real countries. And the magic was fascinating. There was a system of laws governing people with magic as well as a number of magical, non-human beings. Those people were similar to the ones in common mythology but went by different names and slightly different abilities. All those elements combined to make a fascinating world that I am sure Sunbolt has only scratched the surface of.

Sunbolt was a fascinating read, and I look forward to reading the second book, Memories of Ash. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy YA fantasy.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and have also acquired an eBook copy from Amazon.

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