Title: Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha #1)
Author: Tasha Suri
Genre: Fantasy, Adult, Fiction
No. of pages: Paperback, 496
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Date Read: November 19, 2018
A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods.
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda–and should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…
First, thanks to Orbit for sending me an ARC. I had requested it back close to June and they were gracious enough to send me a copy. This book was one that I had had my eye on before it first came out as I was super intrigued about this story that followed a woman who had magic in her blood, wasn’t allowed to use it, and then was forced to deny herself in the interest of stronger forces who wanted to use the magic that was seen as a disgrace. I was right to be intrigued, and now I am forever in love with Mehr story and can’t wait to continue when the next book drops.
Empire of Sand follows Mehr. She’s the daughter of an Ambha governor and an Amrithi woman. As her father exiled her mother years before, Mehr and her sister were left with their father to be protected by his political power. As Mehr still grasps onto the rites and rituals of her mother, others see her as ‘dirty blood’ as the Amrithi as seen by society as monsters and ‘less than.’ During a storm that brings the gods’ dreamfire, Mehr leaves her house to search for a fellow Amrithi and accidentally uses this power in her blood. That use of power grabs the attention of the Maha, one of the founding powers of the land. As he is feared and/or worshipped throughout the land, when his mystics arrive with the ‘gift’ of marriage for Mehr to a fellow Amrithi mystics, she realizes that she cannot say no, not only for the people in her father’s province but to keep her sister safe. As she goes forward in this new life with her husband, she finds that many things that she was told were true, but also that there were things she was told that was untrue. Mehr, in living in the mystics temple, learns who she can trust, who she must rebel against, and that the gods are waiting to get their revenge.
Honestly, there was so much about this book that I loved. Mehr is fiercely dependant and in everything, wants to do right by her gods and by the people she loves. She is one of those people whose strength truly shows when she chooses the hard, but right thing over the easy thing. She is fiercely loyal and that is something that I admired about her. When we meet Amun, she realizes that he isn’t the monster that others say he is and she lets her own judgment be decided by what she’s seen and experienced and doesn’t let others opinions sway her. Also, Amun. What a guy. This dude is tethered and vowed to do anything the Maha orders and yet he finds the strength to find loopholes in order to treat people right. What a guy.
From what I understand, this book was heavily inspired by Suri’s own background and love of Bollywood films, history, and mythology. The influence of South Asia is evident and I loved getting the chance to experience a small piece of the culture, history, and mythology through this book.
There’s so much that I want to say about this book, but I’m so afraid of giving everything away. I definitely don’t want to spoil anyone who may pick this book up. But, let me just say, I was gripped by this book. I will definitely be picking this one up again and will more than likely be buying the finished copy.
I loved Empire of Sand. It just released last week on November 13th. I highly recommend this to anyone, literally everyone. You won’t regret it.